400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 466-5820
cdrc@santacruzcoe.org

Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS):Tier 1

This program has taken intentional steps to improve quality through these efforts:


  • Completed a thorough licensing process through the State of California.

Tier 2

This program has taken intentional steps to improve quality through these efforts:


  • Licensed and in good standing with state licensing agents
  • Has been in business for at least two years
  • Meets Child Health & Safety Standards
  • Has attended an Increasing Quality training session

Tier 3

This program has taken intentional steps to improve quality through these efforts:


  • Developed a written philosophy that defines its values, beliefs, and goals for children and families including guidelines for adult child interactions
  • Maintains an accessible, organized, child-friendly indoor physical environment
  • Adheres to a planned curriculum of daily activities and routines that support children’s learning and development
  • Performs annual screenings on each child
  • Creates consistency of care by employing a teacher who is with the children the majority of the day
  • Offers instruction to children on healthy eating, fitness and toileting practices
  • Developed a written policy on screen time and does not allow screen time for children under 2
  • Employs a leader/director with a certificate in the field or equivalent training in early learning and development
  • Employs a majority of staff members who have significant training in early learning, including training ethics and professional responsibility
  • Supports continued professional development and training for staff
  • Maintains a proven level of high satisfaction from and engagement with families
  • Regularly evaluates staff on adult-child interactions, family partnerships and ethical practices
  • Conducts an annual program evaluation
  • Operates in accordance with sustainable business practices that support quality care

Tier 4

This rating indicates that a program has met all the requirements for Level 3, PLUS:


  • Explicitly ensures the inclusion of all children through its program philosophy
  • Provides shelves or containers that are labeled in the home language for all children in the program
  • Provides gross motor equipment for play
  • Promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion through its instructional materials
  • Incorporates tools to individualize teaching strategies for each child
  • Provides children with daily whole group activities
  • Conducts child developmental assessments at least twice during the year
  • Exceeds minimum licensing standards in its child-staff ratios
  • Develops written guidelines for adult-child interactions that support children’s learning, language and concept development
  • Improves children’s social skills through direct instruction and support
  • Learns about child and family needs, interests, and traditions
  • Employs a leader/director with an associate degree in the field or equivalent training
  • Employs a majority of staff members who hold a certificate in the field or equivalent training in early learning and development
  • Adheres to a strict policy regarding issues of confidentiality
  • Has a business plan in place
  • Requires staff to complete regular self-assessments on their professional performance

Tier 5

This program excels in essential standards that support quality learning for all children. This rating indicates that a program has met all the requirements for Levels 3 and 4, plus the following:


  • Uses the program’s philosophy to guide key program and personnel decisions
  • Labels shelves and containers with pictures
  • Has indoor space available for gross motor activities
  • Collects a variety of supplemental assessment information on children
  • Uses screen time in an intentional manner related to instructional goals
  • Is evaluated by early learning professionals to verify it uses best practices in adult-child interactions
  • Encourages parents to play an active role in the program, sharing their communities and cultures
  • Allows for family input from meetings or advisory groups
  • Provides forms and essential program information in a manner that is understandable to all families in the program regardless of differences in language, literacy, or ability
  • Provides information for families about educational opportunities available in the community
  • Has a leader/director with a bachelor’s degree in the field or equivalent training
  • Employs a majority of staff members who have an associate degree in the field or equivalent training
  • Regularly observes employees on adult child interactions to ensure best practices are being implemented
  • Provides substantial employment benefits to staff