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.

Listen to Season 2!

RSS Quality Time Podcast

  • Mindful Moment #3 February 21, 2024
    We created the Quality Time podcast especially for early childhood educators in Nebraska. Our intention at Step Up to Quality was to uplift and support all the teachers, directors, administrators and others who educate our future leaders. We know it can be a difficult and exhausting job, so we went a step further and recorded […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 12 - Nebraska's Early Learning Library February 7, 2024
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that libraries are amazing. But what if there were a library dedicated solely to early childhood education and learning? This is not just a dream, it is here right here, right now! The Nebraska Department of Education's Early Learning Library serves the entire state. Even if you aren't able […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 11 - Be Your Own Caretaker January 24, 2024
    What is self care? What is burnout and compassion fatigue, and are they related? Learn answers to these questions and most importantly, learn strategies and tactics around how to best care for yourself in stressful moments, hard moments and all the moments in between. In this episode of Quality Time, you'll hear smart and easy […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 10 - We're in this Together January 10, 2024
    When a child care provider enrolls in Step Up to Quality, or even when they reach a Step 5, the expectation is never that they need to have "quality" figured out. Step Up to Quality is a journey, not a destination. It's all about continous quality improvement, even at the final stages of the process. […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 9 - Sparking a Revolution December 14, 2023
    Internationally known early childhood consultant, online course creator, speaker and author Rae Pica joins our host Colleen to talk about advocacy and empowerment in the field. Rae's most recent book, Spark a Revolution in Early Education, encourages early childhood education professionals to advocate for change by using research and their own personal experiences. In this […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 8 - CHIME In November 29, 2023
    The CHIME program is designed specifically for early childhood professionals and educators, and has been in Nebraska since 2017. In this episode, our host Colleen talks with Jaci Foged, who currently helps manage the program with Nebraska Extension and was also formerly a child care center director. She explains how CHIME guides early childhood teachers […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 7 - Weighing the Benefits of ERS November 9, 2023
    Many misconceptions surround the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) that participants in Step Up to Quality have the option to choose. Learn more about the ERS choices and how these tools can support child care providers rather than bog them down. Guests Erica Timperley, the ERS anchor in Nebraska, and Natalie Hanna, a family home child […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 6 - Paso a Paso October 25, 2023
    Step by step, Carime Ruvalcaba achieves her goals. She recently reached Step 5, the first bilingual child care provider to accomplish this impressive milestone in Nebraska. Hear more about her story, including her tips for participating in Step Up to Quality, in our first episode recorded in both English and Spanish.
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 5 - Classy Educators October 11, 2023
    Our Quality Time podcast host Colleen Schmit calls CLASS training "life-changing." Find out why in this episode, as she discusses the philosophy and intent behind this important development tool with Trisha Edwards, a client implementation specialist with Teachstone, the organization that developed CLASS. Even more than guiding your teaching style and affirming your mindset, it […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality
  • Season 2, Episode 4 - Whole Body Classroom September 27, 2023
    Learn all about Whole Body Classroom, a FREE 12-hour training custom developed by our host Colleen Schmit and Traci Strazdas. Developed for anyone who teaches young children in Nebraska, this training has practical tips, reminders on strategies to implement right away in the classroom, opportunities to share stories and an intentional self-care space in every […]
    Nebraska Step Up to Quality