About this page: BrightStars Quality Improvement Resources - Rating system for Rhode Island child care centers and preschools

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BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Quality Improvement Resources

BrightStars supports programs and their continued dedication to quality improvement. High quality early care, education and school-age programs regularly assess their program’s performance to determine what changes they can make to further improve early childhood services.

Links to Important Documents
- Quality Improvement Plan Template
- Guide to Early Childhood Education/Related Coursework, Updated August 2016
- Interpreting BrightStars Environment Rating Scale Scores and Reports
- Assessor Management System
This document includes policies and procedural information that apply to Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) classroom observations (ECERS-R, ITERS-R, FCCERS-R, SACERS-R) performed on behalf of RIAEYC or RIDE as part of the BrightStars Rating and RIDE Comprehensive Early Childhood Education (CECE) Program Approval processes.
-Current Coursework for ECE Programs in Rhode Island
Listed here is a list of courses that are currently approved for ECE/Related requirements within the BrightStars Standards. Please note that some courses have been added as well as revisions for some previously approved courses. As always, once a course appears on this list, it will be accepted now and in all future reviews. Please make sure to refer to the notes for clarification box included in this document. However, please note that the requirement for ECE/Related credits in the BrightStars Standards at Level 3 and higher applies to the standards as they are written today. A future revision to BrightStars Standards may impact the number of required ECE/Related credits. For a full ECE review, please submit a BrightStars Application or Star Rating Increase Application. Please note that for ease of use, the document is divided into several tabs and by color, one for each institution in alphabetical order. Please refer to the appropriate tab when looking for approved courses.


The following are national and local organizations, programs, and services that support quality in early care, education and school-age programs.

National Resources

Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is the nation's leading voice for afterschool and works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs.

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)

A national resource center that disseminates research and evidence-based practices on promoting social emotional development and school readiness. CSEFEL’s website includes training materials, videos, and print resources for early care, health and education providers.

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections

This web-based, interactive database allows users to search thousands of resources relevant to the field of child care and early education, including scholarly research, policy briefs, government reports, and data.

Center for the Developing Child

Generates, translates, and applies knowledge in the service of improving life outcomes for children in the United States and throughout the world

Council for Exceptional Children

The largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

Council for Professional Recognition

Promotes improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children aged birth to 5 years old. Administers the Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credentialing Program.

Division of Early Childhood

An international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. DEC is especially for individuals who work with or on behalf of children with special needs, birth through age eight, and their families.

Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center

An office of the Administration for Children and Families, Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) provides information about school readiness, policy and regulation and training and technical assistance.

Healthy Child Care America

Coordinated by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a collaborative effort of health professionals and child care providers to improve the education, health and safety of children in out-of-home child care. HCCA provides information and materials as well as a resource library.


Information about child assessment and curriculum, as well as professional development and training and links to related research.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

A national membership organization working to improve early childhood education through its scholarly journals, conferences, and advocacy. NAEYC supports a system of national accreditation for early care and education programs and is a leader in promoting developmentally appropriate practice (DAP).

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)

A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. NAFCC sponsors the only nationally recognized accreditation system designed specifically for family child care providers.

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

Supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). NECTAC serves to improve service systems and outcomes for children and families.

National Institute for Early Childhood Research

Conducts and communicates research to support high quality, effective, early childhood education for all young children.

National Resource Center for Health and Safety

Offers information, research, outreach and networking opportunities related to children and child care.

National Afterschool Association

A non-profit organization dedicated to the development, education and care of children and youth during their out-of-school hours.

Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC)

The Program for Infant Toddler Care seeks to ensure that America's infants get a safe, healthy, emotionally secure and intellectually rich start in life.

SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool

A private, nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination (RD&D) corporation with expertise in school-age projects and research.

Strengthening Families

Effective family programs for the prevention of delinquency.

Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood

Information about Teaching Strategies Gold for child assessment, as well as curriculum planning.

U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (U.S CPSC)

A national commission that works to ensure the protection of consumers, families and children from products that pose significant safety hazards. The U.S. CPSC produces hundreds of free publications on a variety of safety topics.

Zero to Three

Provides professionals working with very young children and their families an extensive collection of resources aimed at supporting their work with infants and toddlers.

Local Resources


Rhode Island’s cross departmental initiative to implement the work of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant. The name conveys the commitment of all of those in our state’s early learning community who are working to help ensure that all of our young children have the opportunity to soar. Exceed is striving to reach key goals in the strategic plan of the Rhode Island Early Learning Council.

RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)

DCYF is the state agency responsible for licensing child day care centers, family child care homes, and school-age programs to ensure the health, safety and well-being of children while in care outside of their home. 101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 528-3624.

RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE)

RIDE establishes standards and approves community-based preschool and kindergarten programs to ensure developmentally appropriate early development and learning experiences. RIDE also manages the Office of Adult and Career and Technical Education, RI Educator Certification, Child Outreach and the RI Early Learning Standards project. 255 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 222-4600.

RI Department of Health

The RI Department of Health is a diverse and interactive state agency with broad-ranging public health responsibilities. 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908 (401) 222-5960.

RI Department of Human Services (DHS)

DHS manages the Child Care Assistance Program which subsidizes child care for low-income, working families. DHS also works with other resources in RI to offer a full continuum of services for families, adults, children, elders, individuals with disabilities and veterans. 600 New London Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920 (401) 462-5300.

Professional Development, Local Resources & Services

Center for Early Learning Professionals

Works with a diverse range of programs that serve children from birth to age 5, including child care centers family child care homes and public preschools. Offers professional development, technical assistance and Quality Improvement Grants.

Children's Friend

Children’s Friend offers a wide array of services that support families and child care providers throughout the state. Children’s Friend also sponsors the Child and Adult Care Food Program for family child care providers. 153 Summer Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 276-4300.

Family Child Care Homes of Rhode Island Inc. (FCCHRI)

Supports, enhances and represents family child care providers through education, professional development, quality improvement, networking and resources.

Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College

The Sherlock Center providers training and consultative services to the early childhood community to help all young children achieve positive development, social/emotional and learning outcomes in inclusive early care and education centers and schools.

Providence After School Alliance (PASA)

PASA works to increase access to quality after school programming for the young people of the city, starting with middle school age youth and now continuing with high school age youth. 140 Broadway Avenue, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 490-9599.

Prevent Child Abuse Rhode Island

Works to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in Rhode Island through education, public awareness and advocacy of primary prevention strategies.

Providence Public Library

The Providence Public Library offers a number of various resources to early care and education professionals, including training and workshops, business classes, access to resources as well as the opportunity to borrow Learning and Reading (LARK) Kits.

Ready to Learn Providence

Ready to Learn Providence improves the educational and health outcomes of young children in Rhode Island through professional development, community engagement, research and direct service. Ready to Learn Providence is the home of T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood ® Rhode Island Scholarships.

Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance (RIASPA)

Leads policy, practice, and systems change so that community and school-based learning and youth development opportunities are aligned for student success. 50 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02909 (401) 331-2638.

Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children (RIAEYC)

RIAEYC is a membership association that supports professionals in their work by promoting quality education and the healthy development of children ages birth through eight. RIAEYC is the state affiliate of NAEYC, and also is the managing agency for BrightStars. 535 Centerville Road, Suite 301, Warwick, RI 02886 (401) 739-6100.

RI Child and Adult Care Food Program

Provides federal funding to non-residential child and adult care facilities, including child care centers and family child care homes, to serve healthy meals and snacks.

RI Child Care Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF)

Designed to help child care and early learning programs develop safe, high quality learning environments - indoors and outdoors. Provides funding, technical assistance, resource materials and training. 146 Clifford Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 331-0131.

RI Early Childhood Education & Training Project

The RI Early Childhood Education & Training Project at CCRI provides academic training to address the needs of the field of early childhood education. As part of the training, participants receive college coursework, CDA support, and one-on-one mentoring that incorporates both education and training. 400 East Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886 (401) 825-1000.

RI Early Learning and Development Standards (RIELDS)

The Rhode Island Department of Education provides professional development opportunities to support early care and education professionals in creating high-quality, standards-based programs for young children. 255 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 222-4600.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood ® Rhode Island Scholarships

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Project® pays a percentage of tuition and book costs to early childhood professionals who wish to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education/Child Development. For more information contact Marinel Russo at mrusso@riaeyc.org or call 401-739-6100.

Resources by Topic

Learning Environment

Minimum Staff- Child Ratio and Group Size

Teacher Qualifications and Program Leadership


Child Assessment

Family Communication and Involvement

School-Age Resources


Quality Improvement Plan

Rhode Island developed a common Quality Improvement Plan to help programs document goals and track progress and summarize their program’s plan for advancing along Rhode Island’s quality continuum.

How to Fill out the Quality Improvement Plan