Colorado Shines

What is the Quality Rating and Improvement System?

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Colorado’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) is called Colorado Shines. It is used to assess, improve and communicate the level of documented and observed quality in early care and education programs. Colorado Shines assigns a quality rating to licensed early care and education programs, similar to rating systems for other service-related industries like hotels and restaurants.

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How does Colorado Shines work?

This system provides standardized criteria of quality for all child care providers in Colorado to be rated and provides incentives and supports to providers that wish to raise the level of quality care available at their facility.

  • Colorado Shines rates the quality of programs on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • At level 1, licensed child care programs must meet Colorado’s licensing requirements for health and safety.
  • Programs with higher ratings have strong classroom instruction, training for staff and family engagement to support children’s success.
  • Participants who are working on or who have been rated Level 2 are recognized as “Participating in Quality Improvement.”
  • Child care programs rated at Levels 3, 4, or 5 are recognized as having achieved “High Quality.”

What are the Colorado Shines standards of quality?

Programs that choose to be assessed as a high quality program (quality level 3, level 4, and level 5) will have an onsite visit to score the program in the following quality standards:

  1. Child Health – Children have healthy snacks and meals. Higher quality programs will also track children’s development to make sure they are growing and learning. The tracking helps guide activities geared to benefit children the most.
  2. Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development – Well-trained, responsive and effective teachers are essential to a high-quality early education program.
  3. Learning Environment – Children have materials and activities to teach them new skills. The setting is clean and organized for optimal learning.
  4. Family Engagement and Relationships – Parents and providers are partners in the child’s early learning and care.
  5. Leadership/Management – Strong leadership and business practices are critical to maintaining high quality early education programs.