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Keys to Quality

California Department of Education and First 5 California have collaborated with counties to help support early childhood settings achieve high quality standards.

Private, state, and federally-funded Centers or Family Child Care Homes may participate by choosing one or both of these programs:

  1. Stipend Program-by completing coursework towards an AA, BA, or MA in the CD/ECE field or 21 hours of professional development an individual stipend may be earned. In addition, a site bonus may be earned when at least 50% of the teaching staff, including the site supervisor completes the program. Click here to be redirected to the Childcare Planning Council's website for more information about current stipend programs. 

  2. Rating Matrix-Providers or sites will choose specific areas from the Rating Matrix for quality improvement. These areas include:

    • Child Observation-using observation/assessment to measure all 5 domains of development. The information can then be used to plan developmentally appropriate curriculum and environments.

    • Health and Developmental Screening-using a screening tool to measure development of individual children, as well as areas of concern. Using available resources to address any concerns.

    • Teacher Qualifications-the level of training, education, and experience that lead classroom staff or a Family Child Care Provider has attained.

    • Teacher-child Interactions-High quality interactions between adults and children in the classroom or Family Child Care Home are important in fostering social-emotional and cognitive growth in children. This supports school readiness and success.

    • Ratios and Group Size-(pertains to centers only)-Smaller group sizes of children to higher ratios of adults, increases opportunity for more enriching experiences.

    • Director Qualifications-(pertains to centers only)-the education and professional development attained by the program administrator.

    • ERS-Using the Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS, ITERS, FCCERS) tools to assess the care and learning environment, measure the quality and types of materials available to children, how staff use the materials to create enriching learning experiences for children, as well as a program’s health and safety practices.


Sites that are rated will provide documentation and receive objective observation related to these areas of professional practice, receiving a number score to reflect their progress on the quality improvement tiers.


Interested in participating? Please contact Tonya Byers, Child Care Coordinator at (530)749-4041 or Noemi Sanchez, Quality Improvement Specialist at (530) 749-4038.

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