Seeing STARS | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Seeing STARS

The grade on Vermont's childcare, preschool and after school programs

Published April 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
Updated April 4, 2022 at 7:32 p.m.

Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) is designed to help parents evaluate programs that care for their kids. Sponsored by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, STARS assigns star rankings to participating childcare, preschool and after school programs.

The process is much more thorough than a simple site visit. To receive a ranking, programs must complete an application that assesses progress in five areas: compliance with state regulations, staff qualifications and training, communication and support of children, families and communities, providers' self-assessments and plans for improvements, and the strength of a program's operating policies and business practices. Simply by completing the process, programs demonstrate a desire to go above and beyond the minimum state standards.

The STARS coordinators assign applicants one to five stars. A single star means a program is new or examining its practices and working to improve them; a five-star ranking signifies that a program is established and outstanding in all areas. A ranking is good for three years, though each applicant must complete an annual review to maintain it.

STARS helps parents assess a program's quality and professionalism, and it can also save them money. Parents who meet the state's income eligibility guidelines may pay less for childcare if they enroll their children in programs with three, four or five stars.

Each month, Kids VT publishes an excerpt of the list of STARS participants. This month's "Seeing STARS" features participating programs in Bolton, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Huntington, Richmond and Shelburne. Find more information about STARS, a complete list of rankings, and other childrcare resources at

Shining Star: Charlotte Children's Center

Nancy Elder
  • 116 Ferry Road, 425-3328
  • Type of program: Childcare center
  • Year established:  1984
  • Age range of children: 6 weeks to 8 years old
  • Last field trip: Charlotte Volunteer Fire Station
  • Favorite rainy-day activity: Playing outside in the rain and in mud puddles. There's no bad weather; only bad clothing.
  • Favorite book, song or art project: Children incorporate lots of natural materials into their artwork.
  • Special programming: Offering our first-ever summer camp for 5- to 8-year-olds.


Lisa's Playhouse
3215 Theodore Roosevelt Highway, 434-2570
3 stars

Smilie Preschool Program
Smilie Memorial School,
2712 Theodore Roosevelt Highway, 434-2757
5 stars

Y School Age Program at Bolton
Smilie Memorial School,
2712 Theodore Roosevelt Highway, 862-9622
4 stars


Charlotte Central School Early Education Program
408 Hinesburg Road,
5 stars

Charlotte Children's Center
116 Ferry Road, 425-3328
5 stars

Charlotte Children's Center (Seekers)
116 Ferry Road, 425-3328
5 stars

Y School Age Program at Charlotte
Charlotte Central School,
408 Hinesburg Road, 862-9622
4 stars


Annette's Preschool
96 Pond Road, 482-2525
4 stars

Hinesburg Community School Early Education Program
10888 Route 116, 482-2106
5 stars

Hinesburg Nursery School
Masonic Temple, 10856 Route 116, 482-3827
4 stars

Penny Blanchette
81 Hemlock Hill Road, 482-2516
3 stars


Brewster Pierce Memorial School
120 School Street, 434-2074
5 stars

Y School Age Program at Huntington
Brewster Pierce, Memorial School, 120 School Street, 862-9622
4 stars


Pam's Day Kids
3453 East Main Street, 434-2608
3 stars

Richmond Elementary Preschool
120 School Street, 434-2461
4 stars

Y School Age Program at Camels Hump
Camels Hump Middle School, 173 School Street, 862-9622
4 stars

Y School Age Program at Richmond
Richmond Elementary Preschool, 120 School Street, 862-2254
4 stars


Acorn Child Care
145 Pine Haven Shore, Suite 2013, 985-8118
3 stars

Adventures in Early Learning
17 Drew Lane, 985-9025
2 stars

Heart Works School— Shelburne
4066 Shelburne Road, 985-2153
4 stars

My First Friends Daycare
104 Marsett Road, 985-9160
4 stars

Puddle Jumpers Daycare
187 Oak Hill Road, 985-5426
4 stars

Shelburne Community School, EEE
345 Harbor Road, 985-3311
4 stars

Shelburne Nursery School
Shelburne Methodist Church, 30 Church Street, 985-3993
5 stars

Y School Age Program at Shelburne
Shelburne Community School, 345 Harbor Road, 862-9622
4 stars

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.