Fact: Children who attend a quality early learning and care program are more likely to do well in school and less likely to drop out or need remedial support later in their education.

To help improve the quality of early learning and care programs for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children, we work with local Quality Improvement Systems (QISs) and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs).

Quality partners are professionals who are part of the QIS and are working to implement and improve quality early learning and care environments and provide children the foundation for lifelong learning and success. Quality partners may implement a full QRIS, including ratings for some or all participating programs. Others may implement a QIS in which support is provided much the same as in a QRIS, but formal ratings are not required or publicized.

What is a QIS and a QRIS?


  • Implements efforts to improve quality early learning and care environments
  • Provides support to participating programs to implement quality improvement efforts


  • Rates participating programs on how well they meet program standards for quality
  • Makes the ratings available to families to help them choose a program for their child
  • Works with the participating programs to continually improve as needed

What quality elements do QISs and QRISs work to improve?

Every early learning and care environments should provide these quality elements:

  • Loving and nurturing relationships between adults and children
  • Early educators such as teachers, directors, and child care providers who are trained in child development and early learning
  • Safety and health
  • Learning activities that support each child’s interests, growth, and needs
  • Low teacher-child ratios
  • Supportive relationships between families and program or staff

Why is quality improvement important?

Quality improvement in early learning and care settings helps support the quality of participating programs. Programs are then prepared to help all children grow socially, emotionally, and physically in a healthy environment, with knowledgeable and caring providers who engage children in a range of enriching activities.

Additional Resources

You can find resources for families on the Families dashboard.