Steps to Quality

Bright & Early ND uses a block system approach which incorporates four levels, or steps, to quality. Each of the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality focuses on one component of care and is composed of a consistent set of indicators that measure the program's continuous quality improvement practices. The Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality build upon each other to create a program that maximizes a child's readiness for school and life. Use our research-based Quality Ratings to spot programs that go above and beyond to prepare children for school and life.

What do the quality ratings represent?

  • Step 1: Health and Safety

    Step 1

    Step 1 Quality Rated programs are licensed by the North Dakota Department of Human Services and go above and beyond basic licensing standards. They provide a safe and healthy environment for children focused on preventing injuries and reducing the spread of germs. Children need to be healthy and feel safe to learn and grow. It’s the first step in preparing children to be ready for school, work, and life.

  • Step 2: Space and Materials

    Step 2

    Step 2 Quality Rated programs continue to meet the requirements of Step 1, and offer a variety of materials to support play and learning experiences for children with different interests and abilities. A child’s work is their play, and having the right kind of materials, set up in an intentional space, encourages children to play. When children develop good play skills, they are better prepared for school, work, and life.

  • Step 3: Activities and Experiences

    Step 3

    Step 3 Quality Rated programs continue to meet the requirements of Steps 1 and 2, and provide meaningful activities and experiences that build upon children's strengths and development. They use a curriculum to plan activities and guide teaching practices which align to the North Dakota Early Learning Standards. In addition, they implement an observation-based assessment system to ensure children are making progress toward the goals outlined in their curriculum.

  • Step 4: Relationships and Interactions

    Step 4

    Step 4 Quality Assured programs continue to meet the requirements of Steps 1–3, and have fostered relationships that support and emphasize children’s interests, motivations, and points of view. All Children benefit from being in warm, supportive environments where they can take risks, learn new things and develop strong relationships with their caregivers and peers. When children experience high-quality interactions, they are better prepared for school, work, and life.