Four Steps to Excellence

Program Benefits

What We Offer

  • We offer a structured path towards national accreditation with an assigned mentor.
  • Our on-site professional development mentors help members master skills through an individualized, tailored approach.
  • We teach Professional Development courses in our new, 21st-century training labs and learning environment.
  • We offer classes to earn Child Development Associate certification, which includes 120 hours of training, observation and testing (link highlighted area to CDA page/ process).
  • We collaborate with assisted centers to ensure age-appropriate materials are available for each classroom.
  • We provide uplifting experiences through a variety of enrichment activities.
  • We provide assistance for continued quality after centers achieve accreditation.


What does my mentor do? Your assigned mentor (Early Learning Specialist) will guide you through the quality building process, help build professional development plans for your staff, provide hands-on mentoring and serve as an added resource for your child care center.

What is my commitment?  The center must commit to the process of improving quality, follow-through and meeting goals. We encourage centers to participate in professional development, enrichment activities and to meet regularly with their Early Learning Specialist.

Does Educational First Steps offer field trips?  Yes, we offer field trips to the four- and five-year-olds in our assisted centers. We have partnerships with The Perot Museum, Frontiers of Flight Museum, the Arboretum and the Dallas Zoo.

Does Educational First Steps offer CDA (Child Development Associate) courses?   Yes, please visit our CDA page for more information.

What is the cost to become a Partner Center?   Educational First Steps provides our Four Steps to Excellence 2.0 program to centers at no cost.

What is accreditation? Accreditation is a process that means a center has met a higher standard of quality than what is mandated by the state. The center offers a well-rounded, safe and nurturing environment with educational experiences that develop the whole child.

How do I apply? To apply to become a Partner Center, please visit our interactive application page. To learn more, contact Kym Shaw Day at 214-824-7940 or