What is Maryland EXCELS?

“Commit to quality care and education by participating in Maryland EXCELS. Together, we can provide a better future for Maryland’s children.”

Based on nationally recognized quality standards and best practices, Maryland EXCELS equips providers with an understanding of how far they’ve come in providing quality care – and how they can continue to deliver quality care.

Maryland EXCELS promotes quality by awarding ratings to Child Care Centers, School-Age Child Care Programs, Family Child Care Homes and Public Prekindergarten programs. These ratings are available to families as a way to help them make informed choices in the care of their children.

The system is simple: programs earn ratings on five progressive check levels that form a pathway to excellence. A rating of ‘1’ is awarded to providers and programs that successfully meet initial requirements, while a rating of ‘5’ is awarded to those that have achieved the highest level of quality.

Illustration of African-American father with his hand on a child's head, while an Asian woman, a child care provider, leans over him and smiles.

The Maryland EXCELS framework is based on five core disciplines:
  1. Compliance
  2. Professional Development
  3. Accreditation
  4. Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  5. Administrative Practices

Each of these disciplines represents a critical building block to achieving quality in early childhood and school-age programs. Financial incentives and technical assistance are available to programs electing to participate in Maryland EXCELS, and any licensed child care or public prekindergarten program is eligible to apply. Parents and community members are given easy access to a listing of providers in their area through the Maryland EXCELS website and mobile app.