Bright & Early ND is North Dakota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that helps identify high-quality child care and early education programs that prepare children for school and life. It is a must for providers trying to influence and change kids’ lives in a positive way! Bright & Early ND is an initiative led by the ND Department of Human Services to ensure that North Dakota’s children receive the quality child care and early education they need to succeed. We recognize talented child care and early education programs for going above and beyond, and we deliver professional rewards for a job well done.


Bright & Early ND uses a consistent set of quality indicators that are organized into four quality standards. Each of the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality focuses on a specific component of care and builds upon the others to deliver a higher level of care. In addition, each step incorporates training and continuing education opportunities that are specific to each of the quality standards.


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 child care years—it’s that simple. If you are ready to begin your quality improvement journey, start with the resources below.

  • Bright & Early ND Playbook

    The Bright & Early ND Playbook is your go-to guide. It establishes a statewide level of quality and contains four steps proven to deliver positive results for children. Commit to carry out the steps in the Playbook, and children in your program are more likely to enter kindergarten with the skills needed to be successful in school and life.

    Bright & Early ND 2019-2020 Playbook (PDF, 1 MB)

  • Bright & Early ND Handbook

    The Bright & Early ND Handbook answers all of your burning questions. Quickly find the information that you need by scrolling through the table of contents. If you have questions that are not answered in the Handbook, feel free to contact us with your question. We’ll email you back with an answer!

    Bright & Early ND 2019-2020 Handbook (PDF, 747 KB)


Bright & Early ND's steps to quality are a building block approach and therefore each steps builds upon the next. All 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 these exclusive benefits at your fingertips.