Early Childhood Programs
Bright & Early ND is North Dakota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). A QRIS is a systematic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early childhood programs. Bright & Early ND was developed to help early childhood programs offer high-quality care that supports each child's learning and development. The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administers Bright & Early ND as a key strategy for quality improvement under North Dakota law (NDCC 50-11.1).
Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality
Bright & Early ND uses a block system approach which incorporates four levels, or steps, to quality. Each step focuses on a component of quality care and must be demonstrated by the program before moving to the next step. The outcome is a program that maximizes a child's readiness for school, work, and life.
The Bright & Early ND Quality Standards are aligned with Child Care Licensing and include:
Who can participate?
Bright & Early ND supports early childhood programs who hold a current license issued by the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Where do I start?
Meeting and maintaining child care licensing regulations is the foundation of the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality. These regulations are designed to protect and promote child safety and well-being in all types of settings.
Licensed child care and early education programs are required to maintain at least minimum standards related to; physical space, safety features, cleanliness, staff qualifications and staff-to-child ratios. Children need to be healthy and feel safe to learn and grow. It is the first step in preparing children to be ready for school, work, and life.
All programs who hold a current license issued by the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are automatically welcomed into Bright & Early ND as a Step 1 Quality Rated program. If you are ready to continue your quality improvement journey, let the Bright & Early ND Playbook (PDF) guide you!
Bright & Early ND has made it a priority to offer support and resources that promote participation and advancement through the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality.
- Coaching. You won’t be on this journey alone! Bright & Early ND coaches are provided free of charge to help programs of all types, big or small, to set goals and create plans for improvement. Your coach will help you identify and maximize your strengths and guide you along your path to quality improvement.
- Professional Development and Training. Access a variety of professional development and networking opportunities. Training opportunities are available at little to no cost.
- Financial Incentives. Access to Quality Improvement Grants (dollar amount based on licensed capacity) to support investments in quality. For more information on Quality Improvement Grants, see the Bright & Early ND Playbook (PDF).
- Marketing Toolkit. Your program will receive recognition on the Bright & Early ND Facebook page and receive a Bright Box Marketing Toolkit that may include:
- Marketing Bundle: Postcards for families and stickers for children.
- Newsletter, Poster, Graphics, and more!
- Bright & Early ND Yard Sign (Step 2)
- Bright & Early ND Tote Bag (Step 3)
- Bright & Early ND Banner (Step 4)