In 2013, the State of Colorado was awarded $45 million to improve early childhood education and link quality assessment to child care licensing. Together, state leaders and the nonprofit community are implementing Colorado Shines Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS), a new quality rating system for early childhood education programs. A Colorado Shines rating helps parents find the best care for their child and creates a path to quality improvement for providers.
With more than a decade of experience assessing quality in early childhood education settings, Qualistar’s team was tapped to implement the new quality assessment system in classrooms and family child care homes across the state. As Colorado Shines is rolled out statewide, Qualistar and other partners are also building the capacity to document the link between quality early childhood care and education and Kindergarten readiness, establishing the demand for a long-term commitment to quality.
Through Colorado Shines, quality is assessed in five areas:
- Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development
- Family Partnerships
- Leadership, Management, and Administration
- Learning Environment
- Child Health Promotion
After assessing these five areas – and factoring in additional quality indicators – Colorado Shines creates a composite score for each child care program. This score creates a foundation from which early childhood care and education providers can improve the quality of the services to better serve children and their families.
The Colorado Shines assessment is currently free of charge for all licensed early childhood care and education providers.