Steps to Quality

Steps to Quality is Idaho’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for child care programs.  Just as the more than 40 QRIS across the county, Steps to Quality blends quality improvement with quality rating for early care and education programs. 

  • Quality Improvement: coaching for child care programs from IdahoSTARS Quality Consultants, Health Consultants, Resource Specialist
  • Quality Rating: verifying a program’s level of quality and promoting their rating at Steps 1-6.

Steps to Quality helps programs caring for young children improve their quality and parents searching for child care identify quality programs.

Read through a brief description of each step followed by a searchable list of rated programs by region. 

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STEP 1: Anchoring the roots of quality care and education.

This is a foundational step, with programs engaging in increased professional development, business practices and health/safety.

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STEP 2: Growing and building upon a budding foundation of quality to ensure solid early care experiences.

Among other things, programs at this step practice higher safe sleep standards and engage in their first formal program assessment.

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STEP 3: Celebrating and cultivating a strong and growing level of quality childcare that is recognized by the state of Idaho. 

A great baseline of quality is verified in the program at this step, including minimum program assessment scores, responsive mealtime practices and active play.

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STEP 4: Maturing and sustaining a vibrant understanding and implementation of quality childcare and business practices.

Programs at this step utilize lower teacher-child ratios and incorporate schedules lesson plans into their program’s structure.

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STEP 5: Thriving as a childcare business and nurturing all children with quality early care and education experiences.

At this step, programs are integrating weekly documentation of the children in their care, putting inclusion and Strengthening Families framework into practice are thriving as a child care business, nurturing all children with quality early care and education experiences.

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STEP 6: Firmly rooted in quality, achieving accreditation standards that meet the highest requirements for quality care and education.

Step 6 programs are nationally accredited, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Association for Family Child Care, Montessori accreditations and Head Start.