Child Care Centers

Steps At–A–Glance: Child Care Centers

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete required trainings:
    • Safe with You Series (4 hours)
    • Early Learning Guidelines Domain Series (42 hours)
    • Management Training (45 hours)
  • Complete Go NAP SACC orientation (20 minutes) and submit Pre Self-Assessment
  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire

Steps 3-5

  • Complete curriculum alignment form if necessary
  • Select an observation tool (CLASS or ERS) and complete observation tool training
  • Earn points based on quality standards and indicators
  • Keep all professional records up to date
  • Complete and submit Rating Readiness Tool

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Early Learning Connection

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional ELC partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children, birth to 8, that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school-age
  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches
  • Program quality assessments
  • Strategic planning with higher education and other adult learning organizations
  • Community engagement and outreach

Click here for more information about ELC.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The early childhood care and education field in Nebraska continually strives to improve the quality of programs for young children and their families. The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

Training by Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) staff on the Environment Rating Scales is designed for early childhood educators working in Nebraska and is for the purpose of quality program improvement of Nebraska early childhood programs.

For information about upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

CLASS™ is an observation tool that focuses on the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children. These daily interactions promote children’s social and cognitive development.

CLASS™ observation tools have been developed for Toddler, Pre-K, K-3, Upper Elementary and Secondary age groups. At every age level, the CLASS™ measure focuses on interactions that support learning.

To access upcoming CLASS trainings, click here.

The CLASS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the CLASS Self Assessment form.

Child Care Subsidy

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services can help with the cost of child care via Child Care Subsidy. Child Care Subsidy provides benefits to providers and parents alike, providing assistance to families who are working hard to support themselves and serving as a reliable source of income for providers.

Click here for more information about Child Care Subsidy.

Licensing

Click here to learn about the types of child care licenses and regulations for Child Care Centers.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453)

Head Start

Head Start State Association

Head Start State Collaboration Office

Head Start Performance Standards

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

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Financial Support

Financial Support

Your Step Up to Quality coach can provide resources and information to help you access additional support and funding via Step Up to Quality partners.

Quality Grants

A limited number of quality grants are available to assist child care programs working to improve the quality of care through Step Up to Quality. Grants are available through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Children and Families.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Nebraska® Scholarships

A limited number of T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Early Childhood Nebraska® scholarships are available through the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children. Scholarships assist professionals working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree or a certificate or diploma.

Child Development Associate

Limited funds are available to assist early childhood professionals who want to apply for a Child Development Associate (CDA), a nationally recognized credential for early childhood professionals. Funds help pay the initial assessment or renewal fees and are made available through the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

Program Accreditation

Limited funds are available to help programs pay part of the costs for recognized national accreditation. Financial assistance comes from the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

School Readiness Tax Credits for the Early Childhood Workforce and Step Up to Quality Program Participants

Through the recently passed LB 889, tax credits are now available for Nebraska’s early childhood professional workforce and quality early childhood programs that participate in Nebraska’s Step Up to Quality Program. These credits are available for the 2017-2022 tax years to qualifying early childhood education programs. Additional early childhood professional development is required to be eligible for the tax credit.

Learn more about the School Readiness Tax credits and find out if your program qualifies!

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Family Child Care Homes

Steps At–A–Glance: Family Child Care Homes

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete required trainings:
    • Safe with You Series (4 hours)
    • Early Learning Guidelines Domain Series (42 hours)
    • Getting Down to Business (20 hours)
  • Complete Go NAP SACC orientation (20 minutes) and submit Pre Self-Assessment
  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire

Steps 3-5

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Early Learning Connection

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional ELC partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children, birth to 8, that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school–age
  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches
  • Program quality assessments
  • Strategic planning with higher education and other adult learning organizations
  • Community engagement and outreach

Click here for more information about ELC.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The early childhood care and education field in Nebraska continually strives to improve the quality of programs for young children and their families. The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

Training by Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) staff on the Environment Rating Scales is designed for early childhood educators working in Nebraska and is for the purpose of quality program improvement of Nebraska early childhood programs.

For information about upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Child Care Subsidy

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services can help with the cost of child care via Child Care Subsidy. Child Care Subsidy provides benefits to providers and parents alike, providing assistance to families who are working hard to support themselves and serving as a reliable source of income for providers.

Click here for more information about Child Care Subsidy.

Licensing

Click here to learn about the types of child care licenses and regulations for Family Child Care Homes.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453)

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

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Update My Information

Update My Information

Programs that participate in Step Up to Quality must have a professional record for the director/owner of the organization, whether the director oversees one or multiple sites. This person is known as the Director of Record. Note: In public schools, the Director of Record may be the lead classroom teacher.

The Director of Record can change after the initial applications are completed. Organizations must first update their information with Child Care Licensing. To update or change your Director of Record information with Step Up to Quality, please complete the form below or download and complete the Director of Record Change form.

  • Director of Record Change/Addition

  • Director of Record Assistant (optional)

    Directors may designate other staff access to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System organizational or site information to assist staff as they enter their education and training documentation. The designated staff must enter their own professional record into the records system, must be in a leadership position in the program and must be employed by the program.

Paper forms can be mailed or emailed to:

Nebraska Department of Education
Step Up to Quality Office
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509

nde.stepuptoquality@nebraska.gov

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Observation Tools

Observation Tools

Programs must select either the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) and/or the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ (CLASS™) observation tool and complete the required training for that tool.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

CLASS is an observation tool that measures the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children, including emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. These daily interactions promote children’s social and cognitive development.

CLASS observation tools have been developed for Infant, Toddler, Pre–K, K–3, Upper Elementary and Secondary age groups. At every age level, CLASS focuses on interactions that support learning.

The CLASS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the CLASS Self Assessment form.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

ERS is an observation tool that assesses the quality of interactions between adults and children, including classroom schedules, materials and spaces available and accessible to children. The use of ERS is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home– and center–based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS–R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale–Revised (FCCERS–R).

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

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Curriculum

Curriculum

One area that will impact your Step Up to Quality rating is your choice of curriculum. Step Up to Quality recommends curriculum tools that:

The following curricula are aligned with the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines or incorporate nutrition and/or physical activity:

CurriculumAligns with Early Learning GuidelinesNutrition/Physical Activity
Bank StreetYN
Buttercups Infant/Toddler (home childcare)YY
Core KnowledgeYN
Creative CurriculumYY
Curiosity CornerYY
Early Foundations (Knowledge Universe programs)YY
Fireflies 3-5 (home childcare)YY
High ScopeYY
The Investigator ClubYY
Journey (Learning Care Group preschool programs)YY
Learn As We Grow (La Petite programs)YY
Learn Every DayYY
Learn from the Start (Learning Care Group infant/toddler programs)YY
Links to Literacy 3-5YY
MontessoriYY
Mother Goose TimeYN
Opening the World of LearningYY
Program for Infant/Toddler CareYY
World at Their Fingertips (Bright Horizons programs)YY
Animal Trackers (supplemental curriculum for gross motor skills)NY
Eat Play Grow (supplemental curriculum for nutrition, safety and health)NY
Grow It, Try It, Like It! (supplemental curriculum for nutrition)NY

If your curriculum does not appear on this list, you can submit your curriculum for review and approval by completing the Curriculum Alignment Form.

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Go NAP SACC

Go NAP SACC

Step Up to Quality assists participating programs and providers in improving quality and increasing positive child outcomes, including nutrition and physical activity outcomes.

Go NAP SACC, the Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self–Assessment for Child Care, provides free resources to equip programs with the education, skills and tools necessary to achieve their goals and earn points related to health, nutrition and physical activity. Go NAP SACC targets children from birth to 5.

Step Up to Quality programs interested in achieving Step 2 or higher must complete the online Go NAP SACC Orientation Training and Pre Self–Assessment.

Additional Go NAP SACC elements are available for programs at Step 3 and higher. A Go NAP SACC trainer can help providers develop actions plans and reach goals related to health, nutrition and physical activity.

Go NAP SACC Orientation Training

To complete the Go NAP SACC Orientation Training, visit the Go NAP SACC website. Once on the site, enter your login information or create a new account.

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