Early Childhood Professionals

Bright & Early ND is North Dakota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). The QRIS is designed to showcase and support early care and education programs that go above and beyond to improve their quality of care. Bright & Early ND is an initiative led by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and is part of a national movement to recognize, improve, and communicate the quality of early care and education programs across our state.

By participating in Bright & Early ND, you are demonstrating to children, families, and the greater community that your program is dedicated to continuous quality improvement. Bright & Early ND recognizes programs for going above and beyond, and delivers professional rewards for a job well done.


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 a specific component of care and is composed of a consistent set of quality indicators that measure your 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.


You’re busy. We get it. Bright & Early ND isn’t going to give you more to do, it’s going to show you what to focus on to get the maximum results for kids. We take the guesswork out of preparing children for kindergarten. Great school years start with great early childhood years—it’s that simple. If you are ready to begin your quality improvement journey, let the Bright & Early ND Playbook (PDF, 525 KB) guide you!


All DHS licensed programs start at Step 1: Health & Safety. Children need to be healthy and feel safe to learn and grow. It’s the first step in preparing children to be ready for school, work, and life. Programs can apply for a Step 1 Quality Rating at any time. We have partnered with Growing Futures to make the application process quick and streamlined. Check out the resources page for tip sheets and step-by-step tutorials.


Since day one, Bright & Early ND has made it a priority to recognize and reward providers for going above and beyond! Are you looking to enhance your environment or add new learning materials? Do you want recognition for a job well done? You’ve got it. You’ll have support every step of the way with exclusive benefits at your fingertips.