The goal of effective early care and education programs is ensure the highest quality of service by providing developmentally appropriate experiences for young children while promoting positive outcomes across learning domains. Professional development for staff and recognition of quality child care programs are also important factors in the level of service provided to children and their families. Use the following Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and national resources to start a new child care program or enhance your current program.
Understanding Program Licensing Regulations
The MSDE Office of Child Care (OCC) is responsible for the regulation of child care, facilitating the development of new child care resources, promoting the use of regulated care, monitoring caregiver compliance with child care licensing requirements, encouraging the growth of caregiver professionalism, and providing technical assistance to caregivers and parents. Locate your Regional Licensing Office if you are interested in becoming licensed to operate a child care program or have questions about child care licensing regulations.
Accessing Credentialing and Reimbursement Information
The MSDE Credentialing Branch's goals are to ensure that:
- Child care providers have access to quality training opportunities;
- Child care providers and facilities are recognized for achieving quality improvements.
Find answers to your questions about credentialing, tiered-reimbursement, and other programs available through the MSDE.
Selecting Appropriate Curriculum
The MSDE has selected and approved several infant-toddler and early childhood curricula. The Early Childhood Curriculum Project provides guidance for early care and learning programs through a variety of curriculum matrices. The curricula are recommended by the state and align with Maryland’s Healthy Beginnings Birth-3 guidelines, as well as prekindergarten and kindergarten curricular frameworks (Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR)/State Curriculum (SC).
Assessments serve as a useful tool to gather information on a child’s strengths and needs within specific learning domains. Informal and formal assessments offer providers and educators insight to better understand a child’s learning styles.
There are a variety of assessment tools available to help you gauge how well a child is learning in your child care program.
- Charts and checklists
- Evaluations, reports and plans
- Lessons and activities
The National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC, is a great resource for learning more about assessment. Take a look at sample assessments as you are preparing your program accreditation packet.
Pursuing Program Accreditation
Explore the MSDE Early Childhood Accreditation Project and learn what steps to take to pursue national, regional, or state accreditation for your early childhood program. Program accreditation standards represent the highest quality of service and reflect research-based, best practices in early childhood education. The accreditation process is voluntary and takes approximately 2 years to complete.