Step Up to Quality Honors Bright Futures with Step 5 Rating

Step Up to Quality Honors Bright Futures with Step 5 Rating image

KPS Bright Futures Toddler Program sees the benefits of quality childcare practices in its program

 Kearney, Nebraska – Quality child care and early childhood education is important in our state’s future. Step Up to Quality is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2019, assisting programs like the KPS Bright Futures Toddler Program to go beyond state licensing requirements to better serve the needs of young children and their families and to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.  The KPS Bright Futures Toddler Program has been a part of Step Up to Quality since its inception and has earned the highest ranking possible, a Step 5.

Step Up to Quality supports early child care and education programs, including licensed family child care homes and child care centers, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, public school-operated early childhood programs, and preschools. 

“We are very fortunate to be a part of Step Up to Quality, which serves our youngest students,” states Megan Schmidt, Principal.  “We have a talented team in place that works hard each day to build quality programming and we see the benefits each day in the classroom. This honor is a celebration of the quality and continued success of our Bright Futures Toddler Program.” 

Step Up to Quality is the state of Nebraska’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). A QRIS helps states assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality of early childhood programs. Programs receive quality ratings for meeting a defined set of program standards.         

Bright Futures Toddler program receives funding through a Sixpence grant, which has allowed us to participate in continuing education opportunities and helped us reach a Step 5 rating. Continuing education helps us put our training into practice in the classroom to benefit our students.

KPS Bright Futures Toddler Program has seen the benefits of Step up to Quality in its program. “We see great student progress in our program and are happy that our Step Up to Quality rating reflects all the training and hard work our staff put in every single day,” said Krystal Reynolds, Program Director.

With 90 percent of brain development occurring before age 5, early child care and education are crucial to a child’s future success. Early learning builds the foundation for skills needed in school, work, and life. Research shows that kids in quality early childhood education programs are more likely to:

•           Reach developmental milestones early or on time

•           Build emotional intelligence

•           Show improved reading skills

•           Have better math skills in elementary school

•           Be prepared for kindergarten and to become lifelong learners

“This is a huge accomplishment for our team!  We work with the students and families closely, and I cherish the relationships that we build with them, “ states Adriana Van Pelt, Bright Futures teacher.  “We love seeing the growth of the children in our classroom and the positive impact that our program has made on our families.  This is a reminder of why we do the work that we do in Early Childhood.” 

To learn more about Step Up to Quality, visit