What is Quality Start Los Angeles?
- Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) designed to help parents of children birth to five choose the best early childhood education for their family by helping parents understand what makes an early learning program effective.
- QSLA is helping to maximize the success of children and their families at participating early learning sites across Los Angeles County by supporting the professionals from licensed centers and family child care homes in the continuous improvement of their programs. Providers who participate in QSLA receive access to training, resources, and funding to support their ongoing efforts.
- This local initiative, funded by state and local dollars, helps participating providers achieve the highest level of quality through individualized coaching, access to professional development opportunities, and classroom supplies to enhance the classroom environment so children thrive.
In 2012, Los Angeles County began QRIS implementation as part of California’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) funding opportunity. The Los Angeles County Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education (formerly LAC-OCC) and LAUP, operated this QRIS effort using the Quality Continuum Framework Rating Matrix to assess providers serving children age birth to five.
In 2014-15, the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education and LAUP partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to submit an application for the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) QRIS Block Grant to provide QRIS services to CSPP providers in the County. As a result of Block Grant funding, Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) was created.
In 2016, QSLA was successful in securing funding from the Infant/Toddler QRIS Block Grant to support QRIS participation of providers serving infants and toddlers. Also in 2016, non-state funded programs serving children age birth to five received QRIS services funded by local First 5 LA dollars.
What is QRIS?
Quality Start Los Angeles is LA County’s QRIS and is part of a larger state and national movement that offers early learning professionals the acknowledgment and the support they need to continuously strive towards high quality programs for the children, families, and communities they serve. This standards-based accountability effort is the inspiration and model for QSLA and has been adopted by nearly 40 states across the country. In California, all 58 counties currently participate in some form of a QRIS.
A QRIS is a shared set of standards that define quality for early learning programs serving children birth to age 5. Specifically, a QRIS:
- Assesses the quality of the learning environment
- Rates the program on specific quality measures, such as learning activities and teacher-child interactions and environment using the California Quality Rating Matrix
- Supports the program to improve the quality of care for children
- Communicates the quality of the program on a scale of 1-5.
The Importance of a Quality Start
More than forty years of research has shown that giving children a high quality early education sets them up for long-term learning, college attendance, job training, and earning success. That is why Quality Start Los Angeles was created, to set high standards for early learning providers and help inform parents about those standards.