From left, holding their recently awarded Great Start to Quality three-star rating certificate are Little Sparks Child Care Center preschool teacher Heather Poll, Director Sue Nelson and Assistant Director/Lead Teacher Ashley Bunker.

IRON MOUNTAIN – Systems Control Little Sparks Child Care Center at the Northern Lights YMCA has earned a three-star rating from Great Start to Quality, in what was the state agency’s first-ever review of the new facility.

Great Start to Quality measures the quality of early childhood programs and providers in Michigan by using more than 40 program quality indicators in specific areas. The ratings range from empty star (not participating) to five stars (highest quality).

“Earning a three-star rating in our very first review is a tremendous accomplishment,” Little Sparks Child Car

e Director Sue Nelson said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to reach this level in our first few months of operation.”

According to the Great Start to Quality website, the standards centers aim to meet are high, and reaching each level can take some time. All participating programs are committed to quality and making improvements to help prepare children for kindergarten and beyond.

Programs and providers are scored based on a set of indicators that cover the following areas: Staff Qualifications, Family and Community Partnerships, Administration, Environment, and Curriculum, Screening and Assessment. The scores in each area are combined to give them a star rating.

Systems Control Little Sparks Child Care Center opened at the YMCA in May. The three-room center offers full-time licensed care to infants, toddlers and preschool aged children.

Being housed at the YMCA, the center offers unique opportunities for its enrollees, such as free swim lessons. Weekly rates at the center include all meals and snacks, free youth YMCA membership, discounted family YMCA membership and other YMCA enrichment activities.

The center is accepting enrollment for the fall. While the infant room is near capacity, openings are currently available in both the toddler and preschool rooms. A waiting list will begin once each room reaches capacity.

For more information please contact the child care center at (906) 774-3717.