COLUMBUS—each day, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5- year-olds get a chance to learn at Our Kidz Enrichment and Child Care Centers.

  • Starting in July, early childhood education providers funded by the state will be required to meet new regulations
  • If they don’t comply, centers will lose their funding
  • Parents are already seeing a difference

 It’s a five-star rated facility.

 But according to the center’s director of early childhood services, Wilbert Owens, it wasn’t always this way.

"We initially became a one-star rating in 2014,” said Owens. “And then each year we increased our rating, going from a one-star, two-star, three-star, and then we went to a five-star in 2017. So, it was a process." 

 Owens says it wasn't easy, but it was well worth it.

"Children benefit,” said Owens. “Our early childhood professionals benefit. And just as children in the community benefit who are the most vulnerable benefit."

 It’s a benefit that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is hoping other providers can experience.

That’s because come July, 2020, they, along with the Ohio Department of Education, require all providers funded by the state to do a number of things, including:  

  •  Maintaining a 3, 4, or 5 rating, to keep their funding
  •  Report on how well children at their facility are learning and if they're ready for kindergarten
  •  Complete professional and childhood development courses.  

If they do not comply, centers risk losing their funding.

The department is pushing for higher standards because a 2017 study that showed a strong correlation between children scoring higher on Ohio’s kindergarten readiness assessment when they attended star-rated programs.

For Our Kidz Enrichment, program coordinators say everyone benefits in the end when providers step up.