Overview of the Quality Process
Quality Does Count
Expanding your services without attention to quality will not deliver positive outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society. That’s why Quality Counts California (QCC) provides resources and support for early learning and care providers to connect program standards to positive child outcomes and promote their quality programs.
Early learning and care environments should provide Elements of Quality like these:
- The program and staff involves families to enrich children’s learning experiences.
- Teachers have individual time with children.
- Teachers have professional development and growth opportunities.
- Program evaluations are conducted for making data-driven decisions for ongoing improvement.
- Developmental monitoring/screening is conducted inclusive of families and includes follow-up referrals.
- Activities are driven by children’s needs and interests.
Starting the Quality Process with QCC
QCC encourages you to join, receive resources and support on the QCC growth path, and get rated as you become ready.
When you join QCC, you:
- Gain access to state and local resources and supports
- Continuously improve the quality of your early learning and care program
- Provide positive outcomes for children
Working with Your Local QRIS
QCC supports a network of local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs). Your local QRIS then works closely with you to support your commitment to quality and continuous growth and improvement.
Some components of a QRIS vary from county to county based on the needs of local providers. However, each QRIS:
- Rates participating programs on how well they meet statewide program standards for quality
- Works with the participating programs to continually improve
- Makes the ratings available to families to help them choose a program for their child
The Rating Process
Program ratings are based on how well programs meet QCC’s five-tiered set of program standards, which cover three core areas:
- Child Development and School Readiness
- Teachers and Teaching
- Program and Environment
A rating for your program:
- Provides individualized feedback for potential areas of growth for your program.
- May include incentives and recognition for your level of quality.
- Provides families an additional tool to find the best environment for their child.
Once you sign up with your local QRIS, if applicable:
- A trained and certified independent observer visits your early learning and care environment.
- The observer measures your programs using California standards of quality.
- Your program is then awarded a star rating for its continuous improvement.
The Quality Process Resources
Additional Resources on Quality
- Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Families: The Use of Strengthening Families™ in QRIS
- California’s Early Learning Foundations
- California Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Foundations
- California Preschool Learning Foundations
- Child Care Aware
- Grace’s Path to Success
- Guide to Creating “Safe Space” Policies for Early Childhood Programs
- Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework