SARTELL --Over the past year Minnesota has acquired more that 1,000 quality early education programs that have now been rated by the Parent Aware program.

Parent Aware is a rating system to help parents find high-quality child care and early education programs to prepare their children for kindergarten.

Minnesota Departement of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson was in Sartell this morning to celebrate Stearns County making that list.

Jesson stopped at Amanda Rupar's Family Child Care in Sartell after recently receiving a four-star rating in the parent aware program, which is the highest possible.

Beginning March 2014, the government will use part of a $19.4 million investment to pay higher Child Care Assistance Program rates to those with a three-or four-star rating and provide scholarships to families with low incomes to enroll in child care.

Jesson participated in finger painting with the children today. She says the Parent Aware programs will help provide child care services with addition tools and funding that will help get your children ready for kindergarten.

See photo's of DHS Commissioner Jesson finger painting with children today!

Kids make their masterpiece. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Children mix colors to see what they change in to. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Artists hard at work. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson paints with children. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Having fun finger painting. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)