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IdahoSTARS continues to showcase the highest quality child care facilities in the State. Meet real-life examples of quality child care, celebrate their successes, and see the possibilities for other child care providers reaching the same goals. 

Please join us in celebrating Karissa Thorhaug, Owner and Director of Karissa’s Klubhouse in Saint Maries. Thorhaug has earned a Steps to Quality, Step 4 rating. In this question-and-answer series with Thorhaug from October 11, 2021, learn more about her experiences becoming recognized as a high-quality child care facility:

IdahoSTARS: What are you most proud of about your facility?

Thorhaug: I’m proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time, on our own, during a pandemic. Being able to offer quality care in our small community is a huge honor.

IdahoSTARS: What are your future goals for your facility?

Thorhaug: I hope to continue offering quality care and to move farther in the Steps to Quality program. My long-term goals are keeping staff and being able to pay them for the amazing job they do.

IdahoSTARS: Can you describe your journey through the Steps to Quality program?

Thorhaug: I was nervous at first to ‘change’ but as we went through the steps it was amazing to see the difference in staff and children's responses to our changes. Self-serve at meal times had me the most nervous to implement, and again the children amazed me with how well they did, and they ate better!

IdahoSTARS: What attributes does someone need to be successful in reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality?

Thorhaug: Team work and consistency! We started Karissa’s Klubhouse before RISE, and it was a lot more confusing. Having RISE and knowledge of ERS is truly a lifesaver.

IdahoSTARS: Knowing “success” is not only being measured by step advancement, in what ways other than a step rating have you measured your success in Steps to Quality?

Thorhaug: Educating families and our community what Steps to Quality is! Also, my staff becoming excited to further our quality care and work on CDA’s!

IdahoSTARS: What challenges did you face to reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality? How did you overcome those challenges?

Thorhaug: As a director, one of my challenges was finding time to get my trainings done and not fall behind on ‘due dates’. We have a pretty high turnover rate for staff, so trying to get them on the same page and up to date on their trainings was another challenge. Holding staff meetings regularly help us all to maintain communication.

IdahoSTARS: What motivated you to participate in Steps to Quality? In what ways did you utilize regional office or coaching supports to help you increase quality in your facility?

Thorhaug: When we first started in STQ, we had different consultants. Our region office went through many changes, but every one of them have been amazing at keeping us current and excited to move up!

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, please join our Steps to Quality (STQ) program for free coaching support, a transparent process, eligibility for grants and monetary recognition, and your center name promoted on our website.  Where to start? 1. Login to your RISE account. 2. Select the Help tab. 3. Click on Steps to Quality.