Podcast

This is Your Quality Time

Step Up to Quality’s podcast was created especially for Nebraska’s early childhood education professionals.


While it does have great information for parents, educators of older students, administrators and really anyone who cares about kids, we purposefully plan episodes with child care providers in mind.

Each episode focuses on uplifting those in early childhood education — providing a self-care space, showing appreciation for professionals in the field and creating a new platform to learn from others in Nebraska. And we know your time is valuable, so each episode is about 30 minutes, give or take.

How to Listen to Quality Time

From your mobile device:
You can listen (and subscribe!) to Quality Time from all the popular podcast apps. If you’re reading this from an iPhone or other Apple mobile device, click this link to listen in Apple Podcasts. If you’re on an Android device, tap this link to listen in Stitcher or this link to listen on Google. You can also listen to Quality Time on Spotify.


From a desktop or laptop:
You can always find the latest episode, and the library of previous episodes, at the bottom of this page. Click the “play” button on each episode to start the show. Be sure to keep the window open on your internet browser. If you close the window, the audio will stop.

About Our Host

We are fortunate to have the most wonderful host for Quality Time, Colleen Schmit. Colleen has worked in early childhood education as a teacher, consultant, program evaluator and speaker for 20 years, and she has also authored two books about the field.


Colleen earned her master’s degree in early childhood education at Concordia University and began her career as a teacher in Omaha, Nebraska. She is also a certified CLASS trainer and online CDA facilitator through Teachstone. Colleen and her husband, Bob, enjoy spending time with their four kiddos and eating lots of pizza.

Have Ideas for Quality Time?

If you have any suggestions about episode topics, people to interview or just general feedback, email us at nde.stepuptoquality@nebraska.gov.

RSS Quality Time Podcast

  • Episode 7 - Men in Early Childhood Education January 25, 2023
    In this episode of Quality Time, we get the chance to talk with Mike Stiehl. Mike is a coach for Step Up to Quality and has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 40 years. Mike discusses what it's like being a male in a female-dominated workforce, what his job entails […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 6 - From Teacher to Leader January 11, 2023
    In this episode of the Step Up to Quality podcast, we welcome Jill Garrett. Jill is an early childhood program manager in Omaha. We talk to her about her Step Up to Quality experience and how she got her and her team to achieve a Step 5.
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 5 - Quality at Family Child Care Homes December 14, 2022
    In this episode, we had the opportunity to talk with Denita Julius! She is a family child care home provider and is rated at a Step 5 in Step Up to Quality. Denita discusses how elevated early childhood education opportunities are not just limited to those who work in a classroom. In fact, more than […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 4 - Teaching with T.E.A.C.H. November 30, 2022
    We dive deep into the T.E.A.C.H. program with T.E.A.C.H.’s very own Julie Warford. The letters stand for Teacher Education and Compensation Helps, and the program helps those pursuing a degree in early childhood education to financially reach their goals. Julie talks all about how the T.E.A.C.H. program provides recipients with the ability to learn and […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 3 - Importance of Coaching November 16, 2022
    In this episode, we welcome Heather Schimdt, who explains the importance of coaching in both the classroom and family child care homes. Everyone has the opportunity to learn more and grow to their full potential. Step Up to Quality allows child care providers to reach their full potential.
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 2 - Fearless Observations November 2, 2022
    In this episode, we dive into the two observation tools provided by Step Up to Quality for classrooms with Traci Strazdas. The two choices are the CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System), and the ERS (Environment Rating Scales). Both of these observational tools are important to understand because they improve the interactions between adults and children. […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Episode 1 - You're Invited to Quality Time August 22, 2022
    The Step Up to Quality team shares a breakdown of what the program is all about and why providers want to be a part of quality early childhood education in Nebraska. Guest stars Lauri Cimino, Lynne Cooke and Jenny Fleming discuss what it's like to participate in Step Up to Quality, and the progress they […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality