Reach for the Stars – Star Ratings & Gee Whiz

Young woman playing with boy


There are many states that now use star ratings for child care as part of their Quality Rating & Improvement System. Child care centers and family child care providers often have specific requirements they need to address in order to earn, or raise, their star rating. One of the most common areas assessed is adult-child interaction and effective questioning.

So…what exactly IS adult-child interaction and what can you do to enhance this area of your program? The answer is … A LOT! One of the most important things you can do to gain a higher rating in this area is to talk to children and ask questions that get them to think. You may be saying, “My children are not even verbal yet. How can I ask them questions?” Even asking a nonverbal child questions gets them to think about what they are doing, encourages them to explore and more. Plus, if you describe their actions to them, you are modeling language and building vocabulary at the same time.

Here’s an example:

Jose is playing with water. He has numerous bowls, spoons, funnels and sponges. He takes his time using a spoon to fill a owl. As he explores, you can describe what he is doing and then pose questions such as, “What do you think will happen if you put that full bowl of water on the water and let go?” or “What other tools, besides the spoon, could you use to fill the bowl?” If Jose is verbal, he can share his ideas with you. If he is not, he can just explore and you can describe what he tries and the results. Asking questions, such as these, is a wonderful way to engage children in meaningful conversation and promote initiative, higher-order thinking skills, reasoning, problem-solving and much more.

Here are a few more example to help you get started. Keep in mind that these types of questions can be used during ANY experience…art, math, language, physical, health, etc.:

What could you…?

What happened when…?

What do you think…?


Why do you think…?


The Gee Whiz curriculum has questions, such as these, for all experiences and activities built into the program. Our goal is to give you the tools to get started with the idea, then you will add your own questions or adapt ours to fit the needs of the children in your group. We strongly believe that adding these types of questions into the curriculum is a tool you can utilize to help you earn the highest score possible on your next program assessment or review.





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