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Choosing childcare is one of the most important decisions a parent or guardian can make. 

QUALITY MATTERS…a STRONG START for kids is Santa Clara County’s local quality rating and improvement system committed to giving early educators access to information, resources, and opportunities to provide the best care to children and families in Santa Clara County. The SCC R&R Program is a close partner of Santa Clara County’s high-quality child care initiative, QUALITY MATTERS…a STRONG START for kids.

The QUALITY MATTERS initiative has a vision that all children in Santa Clara County are engaged in high-quality early learning programs. QUALITY MATTERS brings Santa Clara County partners together around quality early learning, inspiring early educators, strengthening families, and uniting the community around the critical goal of ensuring high-quality early learning and health outcomes for all children birth through age 8 so that they can achieve success in the future.

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the Santa Clara County Office of Education serve as the co-lead organizations for QUALITY MATTERS as part of a state-wide initiative called Quality Counts California.


The first five years of a child’s life are very important in building the foundations for the rest of their lives. Research shows that the care and education children receive from prenatal to age 5 play a major role in their brain development. High-quality early learning experiences make a lasting difference—they help prepare children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. In fact, studies have shown that children who attend high-quality early learning programs achieve higher scores on reading and math exams, and are more likely to graduate from high school and have successful careers.

High-quality programs offer:

  • Small groups sizes
  • Engaging learning activities and lessons
  • Ongoing training for staff/providers
  • Clean, safe, and warm classroom environments 

For more information about evaluating programs and selecting a high-quality program that meets your childcare needs, visit our Evaluating Childcare Setting page.

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