Dougherty County's first rated daycare named

Quality Rated comes to Albany. / Jessica Fairley

Georgia has a new voluntary Quality Rated system for day care centers. These types of facilities will be monitored just as hotels and restaurants are graded.

The New Birth Learning Institute is the first facility in Dougherty County to receive a score.

"Just like going to a hotel that has no stars at all or going to a restaurant that has received a 'D' in their ratings, I would rather go to a restaurant who has received an 'A'," said Lisa Johnson, New Birth Learning Institute Director.

Quality Rated is based on a three point grading system. New Birth scored a one, which is above the state standard.

"We have demonstrated our knowledge in early childhood education. We've gone through training with the state of Georgia that goes above and beyond what our state licenses require," said Lisa Johnson.

Although the childcare facility qualifies for level one, the state is providing approximately $7,000 in incentives to improve the score even more.

"We're not just stopping at the one star. We're just excelling to go higher and higher to meet all the needs of our children and to really give them a stern foundation," said Shakela Mallard, New Birth Learning Institute Program Coordinator.

Mallard has watched the facility grow since the doors opened in 1999.

As the center prepares to improve their standards even more, they're hoping other daycare facilities take the Quality Rated challenge.

"We want other centers to look at us and say hey I want to be just like New Birth, setting a mark and setting a standard of excellence in early childcare programs," said Lisa Johnson.