3 Steps to Help Get Your Center Ready for QRIS
By Victoria Joslin, Quality Program Manager
When it comes to getting started with QRIS in your center, try and remember the purpose behind what you are doing. A few key practices that are likely part of your state’s QRIS serve a deeper purpose than to fill out a form or check a box, so to speak.
- Completing classroom assessments—either self-assessments or assessments completed by an outside verified assessor. Whether you are using Environmental Rating Scales (ERS), CLASS assessments, or any other kind of assessment that’s out on the market, the purpose of these assessments is to help you reflect on a variety of things in your center. Depending on the scale being used, you may be assessing the physical environment and materials in your classrooms, or you may be looking more at the social interactions in your classrooms. Remember, the purpose of these assessments, no matter who is completing them or which tool is used, is to provide some information for your consideration. Think about these results and create goals for areas that you and your team can improve on.
- Improving child outcomes. A continual goal within QRIS is to track and improve child outcomes. This can be done in an infinite number of ways, but often focuses on developmental screenings and/or child assessments. Developmental screenings help to identify whether or not a child is meeting the developmental milestones that are typical for their age (walking, talking, fine motor development, etc.) while an assessment is designed in correlation with a curriculum in order to determine how well children are meeting the educational goals that are being set for them (counting, reading, writing, etc.). QRIS requirements around these child outcomes are different from state to state but all have the common goal of being able to somehow determine a child’s strengths and success while allowing the creation of realistic and individual goals based on specific child needs.
- Communication with families. It is important that teachers and families work together when creating goals for children, both in their early years and beyond. We mentioned the importance of improving child outcomes, but communicating with families is the second half of that process. Teachers need to share results with families in order to collaborate and create the goals that will help each individual child continue to grow and learn at the pace that is most beneficial to them.
Improving or beginning your center’s journey with QRIS can be daunting, but when you remember the greater purposes behind each item or task, it will give you the motivation you need! The children and the families we serve, likely the reason we all got into this field, are the motivation we need to continue to improve our practices every day. Remember the values that surround everything you do and think about how you can reflect those values in every area and aspect of your center or classroom.