The QRIS Standards are grounded in child development principals and practices that are strongly linked to effective, high quality education and care and out of school time opportunities for children and youth.

Key Indicators of Quality

Curriculum and Learning

This domain includes the development and assessment of developmentally appropriate curriculum, the "serve and return" interactions between teacher and child, and attention to children with special needs and diverse language and cultures. Indicators of high quality include daily and weekly lesson plans, ongoing professional development and feedback to ensure fidelity to the curriculum model.

Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments

Program environments provide the framework for children's learning and development. They support the implementation of the curriculum through the use of space, materials and opportunities for children to experiment, practice their skills, analyze, socialize, and problem solve. Quality environments also provide support for the health, safety and nutrition of young children. Indicators of quality include the designation of both indoor and outdoor spaces for play and learning that are used on a daily basis; variety of materials for nature and science, math and number activities, art, and fine motor activities.

Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development

To ensure children's healthy development, the workforce must have formalized training in early childhood education and content knowledge, along with ongoing professional development that is linked to enhanced classroom activities, increased understanding of children's social emotional development and its impact on development and learning. Indicators of high quality include lead teachers with bachelor's degrees in early childhood education, and regular teachers who hold associates' or bachelor's degrees with a minimum of 15 college credits in early childhood education--or a minimum of 36 college credits in early childhood education.

Family and Community Engagement

High-quality programs recognize the interconnectedness between the child, the family, the community and the program itself. Relationships with families are built on mutual trust, respect and a willingness to involve them as full partners, while providing them with information, resources and support. Indicators of quality include the presence of an active parent Advisory Board; the capacity of the program to connect families to resources, including adult education and job training, and to assistance around children's development, early literacy, math, and approaches to learning.

Leadership, Management and Administration

High quality programs require effective leadership with management and administrative practices that ensure a stable work environment, fiscal accountability, evaluation of the program's practices and policies and the development of relationships within the community. Indicators of quality include a clear business plan. Other indicators include a system of technology that allows for data collection and tracking of children's health, services, absenteeism and educational information, staff qualifications and professional development and financial record keeping. In addition, high quality programs ensure that staff have paid planning time, salary scales and benefits linked to educational levels, experience, along opportunities to reflect on teaching practices through coaching, mentoring, on-going supportive supervision and performance evaluations that will support education professionals through the use of a career ladder.

The Development of the Massachusetts QRIS

MA Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Standards