COLUMBUS GROVE — In recognition of a commitment to quality and an ongoing dedication to the learning and development of children, Columbus Grove and Ft. Jennings Early Discovery Preschool programs, operated through the Putnam County Educational Service Center, have received a Five-Star Step Up to Quality Award from the State of Ohio, the highest such rating given to preschool programs.

Step Up to Quality is Ohio's rating system for learning and development programs. Participating programs can earn a one to five star rating. Early Discovery preschools:

  • Incorporate Early Learning and Development Standards and curriculum.

  • Have lower staff/child ratios.

  • Use child screening and assessment results to plan activities that best support learning and development goals for each child.

  • Evaluate child progress to guide instruction and progress.

  • Develop plans to support children as they transition to a new educational setting.

  • Work with other organizations with the community to support children and their families.

  • Use input from families and community partners' to inform the program's continuous improvement process.

“Putnam County Educational Service Center is proud of both Columbus Grove and Ft. Jennings programs in earning their five-star program award,” said Marcie Osborn, program coordinator.

“We know that children have have approximately 1892 days from birth until school starts and every day matters. It is important to us that children develop their self-confidence, social and emotional skills and a love of learning.”

Osborn said in addition to Columbus grove and Ft. Jennings, the Leipsic and Continental preschool programs are currently in process of earning their award.

“We expect the results to be the same outcome,” Osborn said.

Research confirms that the first five years of a child's life has a direct impact on how children develop emotional well-being, in addition to learning and social skills. For these reasons the Ohio Department of Education and Job and Family Services are committed to improving early childhood opportunities for all children in the state.