- Child Care Licensing and Administration
- Background Checks
- Colorado Child Care Assistance Program
- Health and Safety Requirements
- Legal Exemption from Child Care Licensing
- Professional Certifications
- Quality Initiatives
- Rules and Regulations
- Support, Resources and Guides
- Stringency Appeals and Waiver Requests
Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System
What is Colorado Shines?
Colorado Shines is a quality rating and improvement system for all of Colorado’s licensed early learning programs. It encourages and supports programs to improve their quality and to connect with families looking for quality care for their children.
The Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System honors those programs that choose accreditation for meeting their quality goals. Colorado Shines works directly with accrediting bodies that submit an application for crosswalk recognition.
Early Childhood Councils support the local delivery supports for the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System by helping programs to increase or maintain quality through the implementation of quality improvement programs. This includes program level support from Quality Improvement Navigators and Coaches. Quality funds are allocated based on program type (center/home), number of classrooms, and program quality level. These stipends support the provision of coaching to include in-person, intensive support offered by subject matter experts to enhance particular aspects of quality; non-consumable materials for the child care learning environment; or to compensate for professional development (qualifying Early Childhood Education college coursework, conferences or trainings).
Click on the QI Incentives on the Quality Improvement page of your program profile to learn more about the Early Childhood Council and quality improvement supports available to you.
How does it work?
Colorado Shines is flexible and customizable. Programs can apply to be evaluated for quality ratings—and receive support—regardless of educational philosophy, and can improve quality at a pace that works for each program.
Early learning programs are rated through Colorado Shines on a scale of one to five, one qualifying as a basic program, and five qualifying as an exceptional program:
- Level 1: Your program is currently licensed with the State of Colorado.
- Level 2: Your program is licensed, in good standing, and:
- Has a quality improvement plan in place
- Has finished the L2 Quality Indicator Program Assessment
- Has registered staff in the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS)
- Has finished Colorado Shines Level 2 E-Learning Courses
- Levels 3-5: Your program is licensed, in good standing, and:
- Has completed all of requirements listed in Level 2
- Has been assessed and rated by a Colorado Shines Quality Ratings Assessor
What is a Colorado Shines Quality Ratings Assessor?
A Quality Ratings Assessor will evaluate ratings at levels three through five and offer points within five categories: workforce qualifications, family partnerships, administration, learning environment, and child health.
Online tools to help you get started
We have created two online tools to support your program through the quality journey.
- Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS): The QRIS helps you to apply and prepare for your Colorado Shines Quality Rating site visits and assessments.
- Professional Development Information System (PDIS): The PDIS supports your staff on their professional development path by offering e-learning courses, a variety of early childhood credentials, a Competencies Self-Assessment and an Individualized Professional Development Plan.
Questions? Need additional information?
Contact the Colorado Shines Help Desk at 844-447-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Validation Study of Colorado Shines QRIS
Validation Study OverviewAs a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant recipient, Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has been working to promote smarter management, better quality, a deeper understanding of children, a stronger workforce, and increased family/community engagement within a unified and comprehensive early childhood system.
A key component of this work includes the development of a “second generation” Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)—a method used to assess, enhance, and communicate the level of quality in early education and care for licensed providers in Colorado. Colorado was one of the first states to create a QRIS and has continuously worked to evaluate, refine, and improve the system.
Bolstered by the RTT-ELC grant, Colorado launched its new QRIS, Colorado Shines, in 2015 and immediately engaged in a validation study from 2015–2017 (led by Child Trends) to ensure that the rating structure works for children, families, programs, and providers. The purpose of this study was to (1) support Colorado’s efforts to implement a QRIS that measures quality in a meaningful way; (2) utilize clear, valid, and efficient procedures for verifying program quality; and (3) provide initial insights into how the Colorado Shines quality framework can support children’s development and readiness for school success.
Validation Study Reports
- Executive Summary
- Final Report
- Evidence Review
- Key Stakeholder Interview Report
- Level 1 Provider Survey Report
- Coaching Survey Report
- PDIS Survey Report
- ECERS-3/ECERS-R Comparability Study Memo
Validation Study Webinar
Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines
The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines describe the path of children's learning and development from birth to eight years old.
They are designed so that everyone who cares for young children can play an important part in giving Colorado's children a strong start. The guidelines are based on research and bring together widely accepted strategies to help children develop successfully.
Experts from across Colorado have woven together their knowledge about these important years. As a result, the guidelines are aligned with and help connect existing programs to create a coordinated approach to learning and development. These guidelines are incorporated across all early learning system elements. View the Guidelines in English or Spanish.
Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care Initiative
The Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care (EQ) Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Human Services. The primary goal of the EQ Initiative is to increase the quality and availability of responsive care for infants and toddlers throughout Colorado by:
- Strengthening the skills and knowledge base of Early Childhood professionals working with infants and toddlers
- Building capacity and promoting systemic change to foster increased quality and availability of care and services
- Supporting leadership and collaboration at the community level
- Facilitating professional development for infant toddler professionals, particularly those who are teaching or coaching infant toddler teachers
Learn more about the EQ Initiative.
One key element of the EQ Initiative is offering the Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care (EQIT) training course to providers. View the list of contacts to find a course in your community.
Healthy Child Care Colorado
The Healthy Child Care Colorado program is a collaborative effort between Qualistar and the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Health, safety and wellness are essential elements of high-quality early care and education. Children spend the majority of their days in early care and education, and families rely on the professionals who care for their children to also ensure their children’s well-being.
Healthy Child Care Colorado makes sure that early childhood programs have the resources and skills they need to promote health and safety in their child care centers. These programs include:
- Support for Child Care Health Consultants (CCHC), such as Medication Administration Train the Trainer, Competencies for CCHC, and resources;
- Information on healthy eating and active play; and
- Professional development resources.