For Families

The Bright & Early ND Quality Rating and Improvement System helps North Dakota families assess how a child care program supports their child's early learning and development. We take the guesswork out of identifying high quality child care and early education programs that give children what they need to succeed.

Bright & Early ND Brochure (PDF, 8 MB)  

Why Quality Matters

Science tells us that a child's most important development years are between birth and five years old. It is during this time that 90% of their brain develops. Bright & Early ND translates the scientific research about what young brains need during this stage of life into a four-star rating system.

Studies show that children who receive high quality early care and education between birth to age five enter school with better math, language and social skills. 

What does this mean for families?

Choosing an early care and education program is an important decision. You deserve to know your child is in a quality care environment that supports play and learning, promotes development, and fosters relationships among caregivers and peers. Bright & Early ND Quality Ratings will help you make better informed decisions about your child care and early education options. By choosing a Bright & Early ND Quality Rated program, you can be confident that your program has your child's best interest in mind.

What do the quality ratings represent?

Step 1 Quality Rated programs provide a safe and healthy environment for children focused on preventing injuries and reducing the spread of germs. Children need to be healthy and feel safe to learn and grow. It’s the first step in preparing children to be ready for school, work, and life.

Step 2 Quality Rated programs continue to meet the requirements of Step 1, and offer a variety of materials to support play and learning experiences for children with different interests and abilities. A child’s work is their play, and having enough of the right materials that are set up in a chosen space encourages children to play. When children develop good play skills, they are better prepared for school, work, and life.

Step 3 Quality Rated programs continue to meet the requirements of Steps 1 and 2, and use an approved curriculum that supports each child’s development and an approved assessment tool to learn about each child’s development. Programs plan learning activities that build upon each child’s strengths and provide opportunities for further growth.

Step 4 Quality Assured programs continue to meet the requirements of Steps 1–3, and have developed warm and supportive relationships with children and between children. They place an emphasis on children’s interests, motivations, and points of view in daily activities and interactions. They facilitate children’s critical thinking and language development through interactions with children.

Use our research-based quality ratings to spot the programs that go above and beyond to prepare children for school and life. It's easy to get started. Visit our interactive map to locate Bright & Early ND Quality Rated programs.