Step Up To Quality Stories

A Big Thank You for Early Childhood Professionals

As Nebraska’s quality rating and improvement system, Step Up to Quality has a mission to support and provide resources to those who are doing essential work in the early childhood education field. These benefits range from personal recommendations for improvement and financial incentives to something just as vital: gratitude and encouragement for our participating programs.

“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but I would like to extend a sincere, heartfelt thank you for the hard work of early childhood professionals, their selfless dedication and abundant love that they provide to the children and families they’re caring for,” said Lynne Cook, the coach specialist at Step Up to Quality. “They’re not babysitters. They’re professionals who have the incredible power and responsibility to prepare each child for their future success.”

Whether your program has been enrolled in Step Up to Quality for a while, is just starting out or is curious about what we do, we acknowledge and appreciate the hard work you’re doing. You’re building the foundation for people’s lives, which is already an important task, and the pandemic made it even more challenging. In addition to educating children and keeping them safe, their health became a bigger factor than ever. You have the courage to show up and be your best each and every day for your families — and we thank you for that.

Participating in Step Up to Quality is a continual source of encouragement

Gratitude and encouragement are ingrained in our coaching practices, too. Our intention is to be a partner in supporting and elevating programs. Providers have the option to be coached by an early childhood professional, who will guide and support them as they navigate the Step Up to Quality process. Coaches make sure that no one feels overwhelmed or isolated on their journey to even higher quality practices.

Our coaches respect what programs are aiming for, focusing on strengths while bringing to light some areas that may need a little attention or consideration. Our participating programs tell us over and over that this free coaching is one of the biggest benefits.

“Providers and teachers are educating the next generation, and we’re here to lift them up and encourage them to be the best they can be because that’s what we all want,” said Lauri Cimino, director of Step Up to Quality. “We want successful children and families, and that in turn will lead to successful communities.”

When programs decide to participate in Step Up to Quality, they’re also showing their families and community that they’re committed to going above and beyond to provide quality care and education for young children. We know this is a commitment that’s at the core of what providers do, and they’re already creating great experiences for children in their care. By being a part of Step Up to Quality, programs are formalizing and publicizing their efforts, and we even help amplify those efforts with our find a provider tool. Each participating program also has its own web page on our site.

The Step Up to Quality team and participating programs are a supportive network, and we’re here to uplift every early childhood professional, because every role in the lives of children is meaningful. Whether you’re a current participant or are thinking about enrolling, our team would love to help answer any questions you may have.