Recursos en Español | Blog | Donate

Environment Rating Scale

Image of arts and crafts time in child care program

All licensed early care and education program will receive a Colorado Shines rating every three years. Colorado Shines rates programs on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest and five being the highest, to help families chose high-quality care for their children. In order to receive a rating higher than Level Two, providers will need to complete a Colorado Shines assessment.

Get ready for your Colorado Shines assessment by practicing with an ERS assessment. ERS, which stands for Environment Rating Scale, is a valid tool that measures the quality of learning environments. It is the basis on which Colorado Shines was created, and your average ERS score can determine your eligibility for a Level 3, 4 or 5 score in Colorado Shines.

An ERS assessment prepares your staff for a successful, stress-free Colorado Shines assessment. You will also know the simple changes needed to maximize your Colorado Shines points to earn a higher rating. 


"ERS provided us a pathway and an enormous opportunity to achieve our goals. We unified and supported our staff with ERS training, we changed our culture and we improved our quality." Cindy Smith, Director, St. James Preschool & Kindergarten


What is an ERS Assessment?

Every early care and education setting and age group has its own unique characteristics and quality indicators, so Qualistar offers four different types of ERS assessments – ITERS-R for infant and toddler classrooms, ECERS-R for preschool age classrooms, FCCERS-R for family child care homes and SACERS-U for school-age programs.

Each ERS tool assesses the quality of the learning environment from a child’s perspective. Are there plenty of imaginative play activities? Do children see themselves in the learning materials and do they learn about others as well? Is the day organized to provide structured intellectual and language development? Are children safe and practicing healthy habits? Does the learning environment support a children’s social and emotional development?

These indicators are assessed with a three-hour observation, and feedback is provided through a post-observation consultation and report. This report provides detailed information about each classroom and can be used to make improvements before a Colorado Shines assessment is conducted.


ERS assessments cost $350 per classroom. Travel costs and schedule restrictions may increase the price. Email for details.

Financial support may be available to help pay for your ERS assessment visit our Funding Options page.

Learn More and Sign Up

Email us if you would like to learn more or if you would like to schedule your assessment.