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Three toddlers play with large blocks in quality child care environment

About Us

Better Beginnings means better opportunities. Investing in quality child care learning environments for all Arkansas children creates better opportunities for our children, families, workforce and communities.

Every child deserves our best. Better Beginnings provides that by:

  • Creating greater awareness of the importance of early learning from zero to five years of age, when brain development is most critical
  • Elevating the quality of child care and early childhood education in Arkansas by investing in quality child care learning environments
  • Sending more kindergarten ready children to school every year
  • Developing the quality star-rating system to simplify choosing child care for parents and families
  • Supporting child care programs through annual training, research-based curriculum and technical support
  • Creating opportunities for communities to be their best by supporting quality early learning environments for children zero to five.

Launched in 2010, Better Beginnings, a program of the Arkansas Department of Education, was developed to ensure quality child care is available to all Arkansas children. Focus groups were conducted to make sure the program met the needs of providers and the children of Arkansas.

Better Beginnings, which is administered by the Office of Early Childhood, is a voluntary Tiered Quality Rating Improvement System in which all licensed child care providers can participate. We provide the tools, guidance and training needed to ensure participating programs are providing the best possible child care and early childhood education.

The star rating system is a tool families can use to evaluate whether a program has the quality of child care they are looking for. Learn more about the rating system and what the requirements are for each star level here.