3. Leadership and Management

3C. Continuous Quality Improvement

Brief Overview of Standard: Programs are supported and encouraged to engage in a continuous cycle of quality improvement focused on improved outcomes for children and families.  As programs consider the resources to support their continuous quality improvement efforts, they need to consider creating a plan to guide their improvement work.   


Specific Tools

Continuous Quality Improvement Plan
A Continuous Quality Improvement Plan is required to have the following items:
•    Name of program, program contact, license number and Circle of Quality
•    Identification of program goal(s) and corresponding ExceleRate standard
•    Identification of steps(s) needed to complete the goal based on last verified assessment completed
•    Projected date of completion and Actual date of completion (when it applies)

Continuous Quality Improvement Plan
To build a continuous quality improvement plan the following resources are recommended for use in ExceleRate:

Continuous Quality Improvement Plan Step by Step Guide
(659 KB)
Continuous Quality Improvement Plan Step by Step Guide (213 KB) -Spanish
Continuous Quality Improvement Program Planning Worksheet (262 KB)
(262 KB)
Continuous Quality Improvement Program Planning Worksheet (290 KB) -Spanish
Continuous Quality Improvement Program Plan Summary
(647 KB)
Continuous Quality Improvement Program Plan Summary (68 KB) -Spanish

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Tool Kit
The following resources are meant to aid program leaders in their CQI efforts in staff meetings, and team-building activities. The resources can also be used with CQI local and regional groups engaged in communities of practice as they prepare for ExceleRate.

What Does a Program Leader Do? (568 KB)
Building a House of Quality (390 KB)
Getting to Know the Assessment Tool (386 KB)
Reflecting on Your Core Values (126 KB)
Values and Concepts Influencing My Work (134 KB)
Who Has Influenced You? (214 KB)
What is Your Work Orientation? (297 KB)
CQI Planning Worksheet (96 KB)


Specific Tools - Informational

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Implementation Guide
This report discusses the ways in which the Classroom Assessment Scoring System© can help states, counties, districts, and programs take steps toward improving the quality of early childhood education (ECE) teachers’ interactions with children. The report also provides answers to practical questions about how best to implement and coordinate use of the CLASS as part of program quality improvement and evaluation and monitoring systems.
Author: Bridget Hamre, Marcia Kraft-Sayre, Stacie Goffin
Year: 2009


Specific Tools - Program Assessment

Environment Rating Scales  
The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) are designed to assess process quality in an early childhood care group. Process quality consists of the various interactions that go on in a classroom between staff and children, staff, parents, and other adults, among the children themselves, and the interactions children have with the many materials and activities in the environment, as well as those features, such as space, schedule and materials that support these interactions.

There are four environment rating scales, each designed for a different segment of the early childhood field.

  • (ECERS-R) The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised: The revised ECERS contains inclusive and culturally sensitive indicators for many items as well as items on Interaction (staff-child, child-child and discipline), Curriculum (nature/science and math/number) Health & Safety and Parents & Staff.  Scale consists of 43 items organized into 7 subscales: 
    • Space and Furnishings
    • Personal Care Routines
    • Language-Reasoning
    • Activities
    • Interactions
    • Program Structure
    • Parents and Staff
  • (ITERS-R) The Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised:  Curriculum and program items in the revised ITERS include: Helping children understand language; Nature/science; Use of TV, video and computer; Free play; and Group play activities. Items have been added to make the scale more inclusive and culturally sensitive, to address professional needs of staff, and to reflect the latest health and safety information.  Scale consists of  39 items organized into 7 subscales:
    • Space and Furnishings
    • Personal Care Routines
    • Listening and Talking
    • Activities
    • Interaction
    • Program Structure
    • Parents and Staff
  • (FCCERS-R) The Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised
  • (SACERS) The School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ (CLASS™) is an observational tool that provides a common lens and language focused on what matters—the classroom interactions that boost student learning.  Data from CLASS™ observations are used to support teachers’ unique professional development needs, set school-wide goals, and shape system-wide reform at the local, state, and national levels.

•    Infant CLASS (Birth to 18 months), Domain: Responsive Caregiving
•    Toddler CLASS (15 to 36 months), Domains: Emotional and Behavioral Support; Engaged Support for Learning
•    Pre-K CLASS (3 to 5 year olds): Domains: Emotional Support; Classroom Organization; Instructional Support

The Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP)
A structured observation rating scale designed to assess the quality of provisions and daily practices that support the developmental needs of children with disabilities in early childhood settings. It was developed in response to a lack of validated instruments designed specifically to measure the quality of inclusive practices.


Informational Resources

Continuous Quality Improvement and ExceleRate Illinois Guide
Continuous Quality Improvement and ExceleRate Illinois Guide
(8.52 MB)
The ultimate goal of ExceleRate Illinois is that young children will be ready for school and ready for life.
Quality standards provide a framework based in research, but to achieve the goal, each program must apply the standards in its own way to meet the unique needs of each enrolled child and family. Each program takes responsibility for improving its own quality on a continuous basis – not just to achieve a rating, but to meet the needs of its children and families. Use this guide to implement a continuous quality improvement plan using the plan-do-study-act improvement cycle. 

Continuous Quality Improvement Virtual Guide
Video presentation created by the Pennsylvania to support their early learning programs in thinking about implementing a continuous quality improvement.  This online guide is designed to help explain the process and offer resources to support programs in their CQI efforts.  

Environment Rating Scales Tip Sheets

The Director’s Toolbox—A Management Series for Early Childhood Administrators
Written in a concise format, each book provides a theoretical overview on a focused topic, numerous examples from the day-to-day world of early childhood administration, exercises, checklists, and suggested resources. Perfect as a self-paced guide for the busy director eager to learn practical suggestions for improving administrative effectiveness or as a training tool for workshop presenters. For purchase.

Taking Charge of Change
Training Opportunity for Illinois Early Childhood Administrators, sponsored by IDHS, is a 10-month leadership development program on the change process. Learn how to promote peak performance, enhance shared decision making, and build a healthy organizational climate.