Keystone STARS

Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania.

 The Keystone STARS Performance Standards provide the foundation for the program.  The Performance Standards are grouped into four levels: STAR 1, STAR 2, STAR 3, and STAR 4.

Each level builds on the previous level and utilizes research-based best practices to promote quality early learning environments and positive child outcomes. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early learning program, partnerships with family and community, and leadership and management.

Keystone STARS is managed through a partnership of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the Pennsylvania and Regional Keys.

STARS Enrollment

Keystone STARS is a voluntary program and open to any Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare certified or registered day care. CLICK HERE to download the Keystone STARS Enrollment Application.

STARS Standards

The FY16 Keystone STARS Performance Standards define quality and outline the expectations for meeting each STAR level. Keystone STARS Specialists work with providers to assess how the standards are met now and how enhancement can be made to move up a STAR level.To read the STARS Standards click on the following links:

STARS worksheets

Providers use the FY16 Keystone STARS worksheets to document progress with the Performance Standards.

To download the STARS worksheets click on the following links:

Center Facilities:

Family Child Care Facilities:

Group Facilities:

School Age Programs:

Head Start Programs:


Questions regarding the STARS Performance Standards or the worksheets can be directed to the STARS Specialists. Click here to view the STARS Specialist contacts.


Grant Requests

The Keystone STARS program provides the following types of grants: STARS Merit awards, Education and Retention awards and Child Care Works Add-On funds. CLICK HERE to learn more about these grants and current award amounts.

Click on the links below to download grant requests. New FY16 Award Requests will be posted as soon as they become available.

STAR 2, 3 or 4 facility


Grant Receipt Collection Documents

To ensure that practitioners access the most up-to-date versions of the new Receipt Collection documents, the SERK is asking that these documents be downloaded from the PA Keys website.

Please use this link to find the required Reciept Collection documents:


Direct Deposit

SERK wants to help practitioners receive their grant payments as quickly as possible, in part through direct deposit payment. Payments will be transferred directly to your bank accounts and providers will be notified by email when the transaction occurs. Click here to download the direct deposit request form.


Grant Support Resources

Grant Checklist

Merit and Education and Retention Award (MERA) Information alt

Sample Bonus Policy 41 KB alt

Sample Education and Retention Award Policy 44 KB alt

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