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Kentucky Launches Free Online Training For Early Child Care Employees

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The state has launched a new online training program to help improve child care staff members' skills in educating children.

The program is part of the preparation a quality rating system across Kentucky starting later this year.

“It is designed to increase awareness and basic understanding of the early childhood standards, what they signify and what their impact is on the professionals work," said Executive Director Terry Tolan.

Later this fall, any child care facility accepting families using state subsidies will have to participate in the STARS For Kids Now rating system, which has made some centers nervous about the additional workload and effort that will be needed to meet the requirements.

State officials have said participation—which has been voluntary until this fall—does not cost much or take much additional effort, and Tolan said this training is essential to the STARS rating system and will help the state improve early childhood education across the state.

“This is just the first of many efforts to increase access to knowledge and skills that help build better early childhood professionals," she said.

More training will be made available to help centers get higher STAR ratings, said Tolan. The state is using a majority of its $44 million Race to the Top grant it won in late 2013 to launch the STARS program.

The free online training will count towards a certain number of hours child care providers are expected to complete. Early childhood professionals will earn three credit hours towards their required learning, said Tolan.

"We want everybody to take advantage of this," she said.