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IdahoSTARS has kicked off a new project to showcase the accomplishments of the highest quality child care facilities in the State of Idaho. Meet real-life examples of quality child care in Idaho and celebrate their successes and see the possibilities for other child care providers reaching the same goals. 

Please join us in celebrating our first story from Kristi Keeler, Program Director for The Kids Klub, Inc. in Grangeville, Idaho. Keeler has earned a Steps to Quality, Step 4 rating. After 18 years as a child care provider, she joined the Steps to Quality (STQ) program in 2014.

In this question-and-answer series with Keeler from September 8, 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?

Keeler: I am most proud of the fact that we have made a difference in the lives of so many kids over these last 25 years in business. Over those 25 years, we have grown from an after-school program to also a before and after school program, a full-day preschool program 2 days a week, and a full-day pre-k program 3 days a week. We also offer summer camps for preschool-age children as well as school age children. We went from one program to numerous programs that serves approximately 400+ children per year.

IdahoSTARS: What are your future goals for your facility?

Keeler: Our future goals are to continue to offer high-quality programs for children and to provide an enriching experience that children may not experience elsewhere.

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

Keeler: We joined STQ in 2014 because we wanted to be assessed and see areas where we could improve upon as well as to identify our strengths. It is a time-consuming process to be a part of STQ, but well worth it! There are so many resources available to help us throughout the process...i.e., improvement grants, coaching from CCRC, and other incentives. 

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

Keeler: A program needs to be dedicated to STQ and be open to yearly assessments. Once the assessment is conducted, one must be willing to implement changes in areas where there is room to grow, as well as maintain areas of the program is doing well in. 

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?

Keeler: We conduct a parent and teacher survey every spring to get feedback on what we are doing right and areas that we can improve upon. We conduct staff meetings to discuss challenges and successes.

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

Keeler: A challenge that we currently face is the higher adult/child ratio that is recommended at Step 5. We do not have the money in our budget to hire additional staff to meet this requirement. Everything else is attainable at this time for step 5.

IdahoSTARS: How did you overcome those challenges?

Keeler: We are currently maintaining a step 4 with the possibility of moving to step 5.

IdahoSTARS: What motivated you to participate in Steps to Quality?

Keeler: We have utilized IdahoSTARS for many years and when I heard about STQ I thought that it was another great resource that we could utilize. I feel that it also shows our commitment to the community that we are dedicated to providing a quality learning experience for those that attend.  

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

Keeler: I utilize your coaching supports on a monthly basis and place a great deal of value on that. They are a wonderful resource. If they do not know the answer, they find you one in a very timely manner!

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.