First Steps recognizes quality child care as a research-based determinant of school readiness. As such, First Steps collaborates with parents, the child care community, and its agency and community partners to maximize child care quality throughout the state. Particular emphasis is placed on assisting parents in their efforts to identify those settings most likely to maximize developmental outcomes, and assisting providers in their own efforts to maximize the learning environments they provide for young children.
Research shows that high-quality child care and early education can boost children’s learning and social skills when they enter school.
Many private child care centers strive to provide high quality care but lack the resources often available to publicly-funded early childhood programs. Our Child Care Quality Enhancement (QE) program aims to produce measurable improvements in the quality of care provided to young children. Our services include: quality assessments, on-site technical assistance, funding for equipment and materials, training and workforce development, and coordination with community partners.
Center staff are encouraged to take early childhood classes at Piedmont Technical College or Newberry College though the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program. The scholarship pays for most of the caregiver’s educational expenses. High-quality child care hinges on high-quality professional development that meets the needs of the local child care workforce. Our training programs are certified through the SC Endeavors and include topics in the areas of nutrition, health and safety, curriculum, child guidance, professional development and program administration.