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Why Invest In Us

As the voice for quality early care and education in Colorado for 15 years, our programs train and support teachers, our data and research inform policy and practice, and our leadership sets us apart.

Relentless Pursuit of Quality: In 2000, before national and state leaders had fully recognized the importance of high-quality early care and education, Qualistar created and implemented one of the nation’s first quality rating systems. Our groundbreaking Qualistar Rating™ was used throughout Colorado to measure quality and provide early care and education programs with detailed recommendations to improve classroom instruction. We provided the data families relied on to choose high-quality care as well as the guidance teachers and directors needed to improve their practice and programs.

Now, as a result of Qualistar’s relentless pursuit of quality, Colorado has embedded quality ratings within child care licensing. We continued our partnership with the state to develop this new system, called Colorado Shines, and our team is in classrooms across the state conducting these assessments every day.

Professionalizing The Field: Teachers are the most important in-school factor that impact a child’s lifelong success. Qualistar was one of the first organizations in Colorado to recognize the important role that early childhood teachers play and to provide scholarships to help them continue their educations, improve their own livelihoods and become more effective educators.

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Colorado program brought a national scholarship model, now in 24 states and the District of Columbia, to our state. T.E.A.C.H. scholarships pay for 90 percent of a teacher’s college tuition and fees. Qualistar also reimburses T.E.A.C.H. scholars for books and Internet fees. The key ingredient to this program’s success is the T.E.A.C.H. counselor, who provides individualized support to T.E.A.C.H. scholars, many of whom are the first person in their family to attend college.

Qualistar uses data from Colorado Shines to identify where early care and education programs need support, and we develop targeted professional development trainings to fill in those gaps.

Safe and Healthy Practices: Qualistar’s Healthy Child Care Colorado program advocates for policies that protect children. This team also develops and provides trainings so directors and teachers understand safety standards and are equipped with the skills they need to help children develop healthy habits. Our work addresses medication administration, safe sleep for infants, oral health and obesity prevention.

Through management of the statewide network of Child Care Health Consultants, we bring health, nutrition and safety expertise to early care and education programs.

Quality Learning Environments: Early care and education programs operate on tight budgets that often preclude them from making capital improvements, so the Qualistar Colorado Capital Fund provides grants to allow nonprofit centers to complete capital improvements that increase capacity and quality. Since the grant program began in 2007, Qualistar has awarded more than 200 grants totaling $2.5 million across the state. Because Colorado has licensed full-time care for only 23 percent of children age 5 and younger, Qualistar and our foundation partners recognized the need to provide grants that increase capacity, especially for hard-to-find infant-toddler care. These grants also directly support quality learning environments for young children.

Research and Advocacy: Qualistar is the only Colorado nonprofit focused on early care and education that conducts original research to quantify the cost and availability of child care as well as the challenges of creating a fairly compensated and well-trained workforce. By understanding the challenges families and providers face, we can identify the policy solutions that make high-quality, affordable early care and education available to all children.

With nonprofit and public partners throughout Colorado, Qualistar works with local and state agencies and policy makers to elevate proven and effective policies. We advocate for a sustainable system that supports professionals with fair compensation and ensures every child has excellent teachers and learns in a high-quality setting.