You can change a child’s path with Step Up to Quality.

High-quality early childhood programs can have a lifelong, positive impact on young children and their families. Step Up to Quality helps early child care providers and educators recognize and improve quality.

Programs enrolled in Step Up to Quality have access to coaching and resources that help them on their path to higher quality. These resources enable any provider or educator — big or small — to take quality to the next level.

Step Up to Quality programs go beyond what is required because they strive to do better for their children’s and families’ futures.

It’s important to reflect, change and grow your program to become better for children. Step Up to Quality has helped me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses so I can offer more.”

— Family child care provider, Step 2, Gothenburg

Who can participate?

Step Up to Quality supports all child care and early childhood education programs, including:

  • Licensed family child care homes
  • Licensed child care centers
  • Head Start and Early Head Start programs
  • Public school-operated early childhood programs
  • Licensed preschools

Steps at-a-glance

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete the following:
    • At least 4 Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) Domains (24 hours)
    • Special Care training (3 hours)
    • Introduction to the Environment Rating Scales or Introduction to the CLASS training (4 hours)
    • Go NAPSACC Pre Self-Assessment
    • Request coach interest questionnaire to work one-on-one with a coach (optional for programs at Step 2)

Steps 3-5*

*Prekindergarten programs established by public schools, Head Start programs and nationally accredited programs are eligible to enter at Step 3.

Once you understand that Step Up to Quality is an ongoing process that you will work through at your own pace, it’s not quite as intimidating. The process is not meant to be rushed through — each program will have its own timeline.”

— Center director, Step 4, Lincoln

Every step counts.

Step Up to Quality is not a typical rating system — it’s a path. No matter where you are on the path, you are making a statement: “I want to be the best I can be so I can best serve my children and families.”

Step Up to Quality is an ongoing process — while we are getting closer to moving to the next step, we know that won’t be the end. It will merely be another starting point to continue to improving what we have.”

— Center director, Step 2, Omaha
Learn about the benefits of Step Up to Quality or get started today!