About Us

About Bright & Early ND

Bright & Early ND is North Dakota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). It was developed to help child care and early education programs offer high-quality care that supports each child's learning and development. Bright & Early ND is designed to:

  • Ensure that children have high-quality early learning experiences that help them develop the skills they need to be successful in school, work, and life.
  • Support early learning professionals to provide high-quality care by providing resources such as professional development opportunities, coaching, and incentives.
  • Help families find high-quality child care and early education programs that fit their needs by providing information about program quality.

Bright & Early ND is an initiative led by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and is part of a national movement to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in child care and early education programs across our state. Bright & Early ND was created under North Dakota law (NDCC 50-11.1). Learn more about North Dakota QRIS history. 

How Does Bright & Early ND Work?

Bright & Early ND uses a block system approach which incorporates four standards, or steps, to quality. Each of the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality focuses on one component of care and is composed of a consistent set of quality indicators that measure the program's practices. The Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality build upon each other to create a framework for continuous quality improvement. The outcome is a program that maximizes a child's readiness for school, work, and life.

Quality Standards

Science tells us what young brains need to thrive. Bright & Early ND Quality Standards translate this scientific research into doable actions. These actions are divided into four steps, resulting in a clear ‘road-map’ for programs to maximize a child’s readiness for school.

Technical Assistance

One of the key advantages of Bright & Early ND is the one-on-one interactions with a trained coach. The coach shares feedback and provides assistance to providers and teachers to meet the Quality Standards.


Programs gain recognition and resources for doing good things for children. In Bright & Early ND, programs demonstrate how they meet the standards via evidence.


When programs demonstrate they meet the Quality Standards, they receive incentives for their program to improve their services, support their staff, or expand their capacity.

Consumer Information

This information gives parents an independent, expert resource they can use to identify and compare their early care and education options to find the best fit for their child.