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STARS Kits

STARS Kits

Programs can access STAR kits below. STAR Kits are tools to assist in understanding and preparing for the criteria at each STAR level. Resources, samples, and tools are provided as part of the STAR Kits to support coaching needs, program improvement needs, and tracking or monitoring of progress. Any documents that are required for STARS will have an asterisk (*) next to the name of the document.

STARS Budget, Quality Improvement Plan, and Cost of Care Calculator

STARS Budget, Quality Improvement Plan, and Cost of Care Calculator Template for STARS Programs

STARS to Quality Budget and QIP Guidance Video

  • This video covers the following topics:
    • Welcome (0:00-0:36)
    • Saving the document (0:37-1:22)
    • An overview of the menu tab (1:23-1:58)
    • How to complete the STARS Incentive Budget (1:59-7:00)
    • How to complete the Quality Improvement Plan Areas of Strength (7:01-9:45)
    • How to complete the Quality Improvement Plan Areas of Improvement (9:46-14:27)
    • How to complete the Cost of Care Calculator (14:28-17:48)

Cost of Care Calculator

This tool is a method of gathering cost estimates from programs in order to see what the average monthly and yearly cost of care is per child in your program. The Cost of Care Calculator supports the Business and Program Administration Scales, which are used to measure and improve the overall quality of business practices in child care programs. All information in the cost of care calculator will remain confidential and secure. Montana is required to provide information to the Federal Office of Child Care about the estimated cost of care based on program type.

Factors that influence cost estimates include personnel costs, such as ratios and group sizes that affect staffing patterns, salaries, and benefits. There are also non-personnel costs, such as supplies, food, and occupancy. We also know that there are additional considerations for increasing the quality of your program, such as: Lower child-to-teacher ratios and smaller group sizes; Increased staff qualifications, which may result in higher staff compensation; Additional staff, including coaches, education coordinators, health consultants, and others; Discretionary staff benefits, such as paid time off and health insurance; Coverage for additional teacher time spent outside the classroom on relevant activities, such as curriculum planning, child assessments, and meeting with parents; Staff training and professional development; and Some ongoing non-personnel costs, such as the per-child cost of a child assessment system (for example, Teaching Strategies GOLD or HighScope), additional classroom materials, and the cost of moving up a STAR level or credential renewal.

Common conversions for payment rates

Conversion Needed

Most Common Conversion Ratio

Annual rate to monthly rate

Divide by 12 (months per year)

Annual rate to weekly rate

Divide by 52 (weeks per year)

Monthly rate to weekly rate

Divide by 4.33 (weeks per month)

Weekly rate to daily rate

Divide by 5 (days per week)

Resources for All STAR Levels

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STAR 1 Working to STAR 2

Resources for All Programs

Resources for Centers

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STAR 2 Working to STAR 3

Resources for All Programs

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STAR 3 Working to STAR 4

Resources for All Programs

Resources for Centers

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STAR 4 Working to STAR 5

Resources for All Programs

Resources for Centers

Resources for Family/Group

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