Step 3: Activities & Experiences

What are the goals in Step 3?

  • Use a curriculum that supports each child’s development. The curriculum is aligned with the Birth to Three Early Learning Guidelines and the Three to Five Early Learning Guidelines.
  • Use the approved assessment tool to learn about each child’s development. Use the results of the assessment to: 
    • set goals with families for each child’s learning and development
    • plan learning activities that build upon each child’s strengths and provide opportunities for further growth
    • recognize any areas of concern regarding individual child development 
  • Demonstration of continued commitment to providing quality space and materials.

Why is Step 3 important?

Development is so important in the early years that we do not simply want to hope that children get all of the experiences they need to learn. Instead, we want to put a long-term plan in place to make sure learning happens. We call this plan for the children’s learning the “curriculum”. Assessment shows you if your curriculum is working. By using an assessment tool, you can see progress in children’s development over time.

How do I show that I meet the Step 3 Quality Standards?

  • Complete an Environment Self-Assessment (ESA) proving your program continues to provide quality space and materials for the children in your care. One ESA must be completed for each separate classroom or group of children in the program.
  • Use a curriculum that aligns with the North Dakota Early Learning Guidelines as reflected through the Curriculum Alignment Worksheet (PDF, 693 KB). The Curriculum Alignment Worksheet is designed to help your program determine how your curriculum aligns with the ND Early Learning Guidelines. Bright & Early ND does not require programs to use a specific curriculum. Rather, curricula should be aligned to the ND Early Learning Guidelines and reflect the values and philosophy of the program, the children, and families served. 
    • Bright & Early ND will use this rubric (PDF, 245 KB) to review the Curriculum Alignment Worksheet your program submits.
  • Adopt the approved online assessment tool, GOLD® and create a financial sustainability plan (Word, 75 KB) for ongoing use. There are many great assessment tools on the market but GOLD® fits our state the best due to the accessibility of online training, the compatibility with many curricula and the ability to prove interrater reliability for all Lead Teachers, Directors, Family Child Care Providers, and Preschool Teachers. Programs will access GOLD® online through MyTeachingStrategies
  • Observe children regularly and record information in MyTeachingStrategies™.
  • Program completes and finalizes GOLD® checkpoints during the three yearly periods (fall, winter, spring) in MyTeachingStrategies™.
  • Meet Professional Development Quality Standards.
  • Plus, the Health & Safety Quality Standards in Step 1 and the Space & Materials Quality Standards in Step 2.

How can I prepare now for Step 3?

  • If you have experience using a curriculum take some time to see how it aligns with the North Dakota Early Learning Guidelines. Use the resources below to crosswalk your curriculum with the Early Learning Guidelines. If you do not feel it is a good match then we encourage you to research curriculum to determine what fits your program the best. 
  • Explore MyTeachingStrategies. Contact the Bright & Early ND office so we can connect you with programs that are already using the approved assessment tool.
  • Work on the Professional Development Quality Standards.

Are you ready? Submit your Participation Application today!


Resources To Help with Step 3