Learn & Grow Framework

The 5 Levels of Quality

There are five levels of quality that early childhood education programs can work to achieve.

Quality Domains

Within each level of quality, there are up to four quality domains to achieve.
Click below for descriptions of each.

Administration & Leadership (AL)
Active engagement in continuous quality improvement takes specific dedication, leadership, support, and knowledge of program administrators. Some of the ways program administrators demonstrate their commitment to quality are: providing resources for staff to complete a related professional development certification or degree, supporting onsite mentoring, and implementing employee/staff retention practices such as paying staff a higher wage compensatory to professional development and educational attainment and providing comprehensive employee benefits.
Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
ECE education is a profession. While experience is valuable to any profession, formalized education and training plays a key role. The ECE sector works to shape the minds of children for Alaska’s future. EC educator training, professional development, and related supports are pivotal to improving ECE program quality.
Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions & Child Outcomes (LE)
Young children learn in the context of relationships. Adult and child relationships are critical to a child’s readiness for school and success in life. One of the identified “few and the powerful” quality indicators is the use of whole child evidence based curriculum and child assessment tools to fidelity. Learn & Grow introduces basic foundational training for teachers at Level 2 and then moves in Levels 3, 4 and 5 to training and supports focused on the fidelity use of curriculum and child assessment to meet the individual needs of all children in a classroom and to monitor their progress toward meeting highly held expectations and being prepared for kindergarten and later school.
Family & Community Engagement (FCE)
Positive and nurturing relationships are critical between children and caregivers. ECE programs provide a place for families to connect with other families and to a network of supports, and for children to make friends.

Quality Standards & Activities

Click on the tabs below to find out more about the Quality Standard and Activity associated with each domain:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Level 5

LEVEL 1: LEARNING ABOUT HIGHER QUALITY

Click on the below domains to learn more about the Quality Standards & Quality Activities associated with Level 1, or click here to download the PDF version.

Please note: New staff hired, or new to position, within two (2) months of program submitting Level 1 verification, are exempt from completing Level 1 trainings, and Alaska SEED Registry, until renewal.

Administration & Leadership (AL)
QUALITY STANDARD 2: Program utilizes a continuous improvement process, focused on supporting teachers to create positive outcomes for children; create individualized and culturally responsive learning environments; engage and partner with families; and cultivate leaders.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 2a: Program has a written continuous quality improvement plan (CQIP).


QUALITY STANDARD 7: Staff continue to advance knowledge and understanding of best practices and developmentally appropriate practices of children in care: social emotional development; impacts of adversity; use of environment to support learning; inclusion and diversity practices; how to support children and families to be resilient; and how to use child observation & assessment and curriculum to guide interactions.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 7a: Leadership team and all lead teachers complete the Learn & Grow 101 training.

Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
QUALITY STANDARD 6: Early childhood and school-age educators are actively engaged in ongoing professional development to advance Alaska SEED career ladder placement.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 6a: All early childhood educators who work directly with children or supervisor individuals who work with children are in the Alaska System for Early Education Development (SEED) Registry.

LEVEL 2: MOVING INTO HIGHER QUALITY

Click on the below domains to learn more about the Quality Standards & Quality Activities associated with Level 2, or click here to download the PDF version.

Please note: New staff hired, or new to position, within six (6) months of program submitting Level 2 verification, are exempt from completing Level 2 trainings until renewal.

Administration & Leadership (AL)
QUALITY STANDARD 1: Program is guided by an early childhood philosophy statement.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 1a: Program has a written philosophy statement.


QUALITY STANDARD 2: Program utilizes a continuous process focused on supporting teachers to: create positive outcomes for children; create individualized and culturally responsive learning environments; engage and partner with families; and cultivate leaders.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 2: (a) Program has a current continuous quality improvement plan (CQIP); and (b) Program has a signed Learn & Grow annual letter of commitment.


QUALITY STANDARD 4: Program demonstrates time and tools to assure early childhood and school-age educators and administration have access to ongoing professional development and coaching supports to advance their skills and knowledge.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 4a: (Center Only) Center Program Administrator completes the Alaska Early Childhood Administrator Credential (or equivalent based on personnel of program). See the Alaska Early Childhood Administrator Credential for additional information and application.

Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
QUALITY STANDARD 6: Early childhood and school-age educators are actively engaged in ongoing professional development to advance Alaska SEED career ladder placement
QUALITY ACTIVITY 6: (b) Center Administrator and Leadership team are Alaska SEED Level 7; and (c) Group Home and Home Administrator are Alaska SEED Level 5.


QUALITY STANDARD 7: Early childhood educators continue to advance knowledge and understanding of best practices and developmentally appropriate practices of children in care; social emotional development; impacts of adversity; use of environment to support learning; inclusion and diversity practices; how to support children and families to be resilient; and how to use child observation and assessment and curriculum to guide interactions.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 7: (b) Assistant early childhood educators complete Learn & Grow 101 training; and (c) Leadership team and lead early childhood educators have completed all five (5) Level 2 trainings.

  • Alaska Early Childhood Core Knowledge & Competencies
  • Introduction to ERS or Introduction to CLASS
  • Introduction to the Pyramid Model
  • Strengthening Families
  • Alaska Early Learning Guidelines
Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions, and Child Outcomes (LE)
QUALITY STANDARD 9: Program uses a classroom assessment tool (environment and adult-child interaction) to advance the quality of the learning environment and relationships designed to support children’s growth and development (ERS, CLASS, or SA equivalent tool).
QUALITY ACTIVITY 9a: Complete an ERS A or CLASS A self-reflection in each classroom and a classroom action plan to be completed in conjunction with a Relationship Based Professional Development (RBPD) specialist. Programs can also request an outside ERS or CLASS assessment from thread.


*Relationships Based Professional Development is a term several states use to categorize a growing group of cross disciplinary professionals to support early childhood educators, programs, and children. RBPD professionals require specific skills, knowledge, and training above and beyond early childhood education or special education degrees, or content training. Several titles fall under the category of RBPD, including: Consultant, Mentor, Coach, Reflective Supervisor, Infant or Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant, Behavior Consultation, Technical Assistance Provider, or Professional Development Specialist.

Family & Community Engagement (FCE)
QUALITY STANDARD 14: Program celebrates the cultural and linguistic diversity of all children and families enrolled in the program. Program values and intentionally plans for consistent communication and active family involvement in child’s early childhood and school-age experiences.
QUALITY ACTIVITY: See Level 2 training requirements: Strengthening Families.

LEVEL 3: COMMITTING TO HIGHER QUALITY

Click on the below domains to learn more about the Quality Standards & Quality Activities associated with Level 3, or click here to download the PDF version. Programs working to achieve Level 3 must choose at least 10 points from the Quality Activity Points Menu to work on.  To achieve a Level 3 recognition level, both points and fixed quality activities must be achieved. Download Points Menu | En español

Administration & Leadership (AL)
QUALITY STANDARD 1: Program is guided by an early childhood philosophy statement.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 1b: Program’s philosophy statement is shared with families and all staff.


QUALITY STANDARD 2: Program utilizes a continuous improvement process focused on supporting teachers to: create positive outcomes for children; create individualized and culturally responsive learning environments; engage and partner with families; and cultivate leaders.
QUALITY ACTIVITIES 2: (d) Program establishes a Leadership Team; (e) completes an inclusion readiness checklist annually; (f) develops policies and procedures that address use of developmental screening, child assessment, and curriculum. Discuss how it aligns with program philosophy and how it’s shared with families at enrollment and EC educator at new staff orientation; (g) Leadership Team completes one program self-assessment tool to inform CQIP or annual planning document; (h) Completes an annual EC educator feedback survey; and (i) Uses a business/ fiscal administration program assessment tool or process to inform the development of CQIP or annual planning document.


QUALITY STANDARD 3: Program demonstrates supports for ECP retention, wellness, and sustainable business practices..
QUALITY ACTIVITY 3a: Program uses a business/fiscal administration assessment tool or process to inform the development of CQIP or annual planning document.


QUALITY STANDARD 4: Programs demonstrate time and tools to assure early childhood and school age professionals and administration have access to ongoing professional development and coaching supports to advance their skills and knowledge.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 4b: Home & Group Home Administrators complete the Alaska EC Admin Credential.


QUALITY STANDARD 5: Program leadership uses the Alaska Early Childhood Core Knowledge & Competencies (and admin CKC), or approved equivalent, to guide the development of annual professional development plans.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 5a: Administrator or designee, dedicates time to develop professional development plans with each EC educator annually that include alignment with Alaska EC CKC or equivalent professional competencies.

Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
QUALITY STANDARD 6: Early childhood and school-age professionals are actively engaged in ongoing professional development to advance Alaska SEED career ladder placement.
QUALITY ACTIVITIES 6: (c) A child care center, school district, or head start early childhood administrator is an Alaska SEED Level 8. (d)
Home and Group Home administrators are an Alaska SEED Level 6. (e) Program leadership team members are an Alaska SEED Level 8. (f) 50% of lead early childhood professionals are an Alaska SEED Level 6. (g) Remaining lead teachers are at least Alaska SEED Level 4. (h) 50% of assistant teachers are an Alaska SEED Level 4. (i) Remaining assistant teachers are at least at Alaska SEED Level 2.


QUALITY STANDARD 7: Early Childhood Educators continue to advance knowledge and understanding of best practices and developmentally appropriate practices of children in care; social-emotional development; impacts of adversity; use of environment to support learning; inclusion and diversity practices; how to support children and families to be resilient; and how to use child observation & assessment and curriculum to guide interactions..
QUALITY ACTIVITIES 7: (d) Lead EC educators, leadership team, and program administrator have completed trainings to satisfy all the Level 3 specific training content areas:

  • Early childhood curriculum
  • Early childhood observation/assessment
  • Inclusion practices
  • Developmental & social emotional screening and referral process (overview/what’s happening in Alaska)
  • Cultural responsive practices
  • Implicit bias and equity practices
  • What is coaching?/ Reduction of exclusionary practices

(e) Assistant EC educator have completed Level 2 specific trainings; and (f) Program administrator, or designated staff, have completed training specific to developmental screening they have chosen, including how to communicate screening results with families.

Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions, and Child Outcomes (LE)
QUALITY STANDARD 9: Program uses a classroom assessment tool (environment and adult-child interaction) to advance the quality of the learning environment and relationships designed to support children’s growth and development (ERS, CLASS, or YPQA).
QUALITY ACTIVITY 9b: ERS 3.5 overall score in each classroom.
OR CLASS score of 3.0 in 2 of 3 subdomains.


QUALITY STANDARD 10: Program provides families access to developmental and social emotional screening services designed to monitor child’s progress toward meeting developmental milestones.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 10: (a) At enrollment and as needed, program provides families resources, electronic link, or copy of one of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approved developmental screening tools to complete and collect within 45 days of enrollment; (b) Program documents number of families that provided copy of or access to link to complete a developmental screening tool; and (c) Program administrator or designated staff communicate screening results within ten (10) business days of receiving completed screenings.


QUALITY STANDARD 11: Program utilizes community resources such as special education, mental health consultation services, and/or Child Care Resource & Referral, to assure all children (including those with identified special needs or who have experienced adversity) have access to resources and supports to successfully participate with their typical peers in every-day learning opportunities.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 11: (a) Program consistently documents Behavior Incidents (with required content areas) and are available when requested by Relationships Based Professional; and (b) Program reports expulsion or suspensions to regulatory body.


QUALITY STANDARD 12: Program uses, to fidelity, research based developmentally appropriate whole child curriculum(s) (social emotional, math, language, music, art, movement and technology), aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines or equivalent for licensed school-age programs, to inform weekly planning.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 12a: Program has completed a curriculum review and selection process.


QUALITY STANDARD 13: The early childhood education program uses, to fidelity, a research based whole child observation & assessment, aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines to plan developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and monitor child outcomes.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 13a: Program has identified a specific child assessment tool aligned with Alaska’s ELG (addressing all areas of development) and developed a plan for how teachers will be supported with use of the tool.

Family & Community Engagement (FCE)
QUALITY STANDARD 15: Program values and intentionally plans for consistent communication and active family involvement in child’s early childhood and school age experiences.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 15: (a) At enrollment program provides families opportunities to tell the program about their family and their children (ethnicity, culture, language, abilities, preferences, etc.) (Salesforce title: Family enrollment intake); (b) Program completes annual Strengthening Families self-assessment or approved equivalent to inform yearly CQIP or equivalent annual plan around the program’s family and community engagement practices; and (c) Program conducts an annual family survey. (Salesforce title: Annual family survey).


QUALITY STANDARD 16: Program provides access to supports and community resources to assist families in: meeting their child’s needs; increasing their knowledge of child development; making social connection; and helping successfully transition their child to school.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 16: (a) In partnership with families, a program develops a transition plan for child any time they move to a different classroom, change in teachers, or schedule; and (b) Program provides community resources or makes referrals to address family’s needs.

LEVEL 4: GROWING INTO HIGHER QUALITY

Click on the below domains to learn more about the Quality Standards & Quality Activities associated with Level 4, or click here to download the PDF version. Programs working to achieve Level 4 must choose at least 20 points from the Quality Activity Points Menu to work on.  To achieve a Level 4 recognition level, both points and fixed quality activities must be achieved. Download Points Menu | En español

Administration & Leadership (AL)
QUALITY STANDARD 2: Program utilizes a continuous process focused on supporting teachers to: create positive outcomes for children; create individualized and culturally responsive learning environments; engage and partner with families; and cultivate leaders.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 2: (i) Has policies and procedures in place for supporting inclusion of children with special needs, including a detailed plan on how program works to prevent expulsion and suspension; and (j) Has policies and procedures in place for how they will support Dual Language Learners.


QUALITY STANDARD 3: Programs demonstrate supports for staff retention, wellness, and sustainable business practices.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 3a: Identifies two quality Level 5* activities from the Business Administration/ Program Administration Scale tool or process of choice.


QUALITY STANDARD 4: Programs demonstrate time and tools to assure early childhood and school age professionals and administration have access to ongoing professional development and coaching supports to advance their skills and knowledge.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 4c: Includes training(s) and job embedded professional development opportunities to support the individual professional needs of the EC educators.


QUALITY STANDARD 5: Program leadership uses the Alaska Early Childhood Core Knowledge and Competencies (and admin CKC) or approved equivalent to guide the development of annual professional development plans.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 5: (b) Dedicate time to develop professional development plans with each EC educator in alignment with Alaska EC CKC or equivalent AND the Inventory of Practices for Promoting Social Emotional Competencies; and (c) EC educator’s professional development goals are reviewed and assessed annually. 

Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
QUALITY STANDARD 6: Early childhood and school age professionals are actively engaged in ongoing professional development to advance Alaska SEED career ladder placement.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 6: (k) A child care center, school district, or Early Head Start or Head Start Administrator is an Alaska SEED Level 9; (l) Home and Group Home Administrator is an Alaska SEED level 7; (m) Program leadership team members are an Alaska SEED Level 9; (n) 50% of lead EC educators are an Alaska SEED Level 7; (o) Remaining lead EC educators are at least an Alaska SEED Level 5; (p) 50% of assistant EC educators are an Alaska SEED Level 5; and (q) Remaining assistant EC educators are at least an Alaska SEED Level 3.


QUALITY STANDARD 7: Early Childhood Educators continue to advance knowledge and understanding of best practices and developmentally appropriate practices of children in care: social emotional development; impacts of adversity; use of environment to support learning; inclusion and diversity practices; how to support children and families to be resilient; and how to use child observation & assessment and curriculum to guide interactions.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 7: (g) Lead EC educators, leadership team, and program administrator complete trainings to satisfy all the level 4 training topics: Communicating screening results with parents, ACES, Early childhood trauma informed care or related training, An approved AAP developmental & social emotional screening tool, Specific child assessment and curriculum program has been chosen; and (h) Assistant EC educators complete trainings to satisfy all the Level 3 specific training content areas.

Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions, and Child Outcomes (LE)
QUALITY STANDARD 9: Program uses a classroom assessment tool (environment and adult-child interaction) to advance the quality of the learning environment and relationships designed to support children’s growth and development (ERS, CLASS, or YPQA).
QUALITY ACTIVITY 9c: ERS 4.5 overall score in each classroom OR CLASS score of 4.0 in 2 of 3 subdomains.


QUALITY STANDARD 10: Program provides families access to developmental and social emotional screening services designed to monitor child’s progress toward meeting developmental milestones.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 10d: Lead EC educators communicate screening results with families.


QUALITY STANDARD 11: Program utilizes community resources such as special education, mental health consultation services, and/or Child Care Resource & Referral, to assure all children (including those with identified special needs or who have experienced adversity) have access to resources and supports to successfully participate with their typical peers in every-day learning opportunities.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 11c: Program has identified local or regional resource agencies or personnel with the expertise to support early childhood professionals and families to develop a plan to meet the individual needs of all children but particularly children with identified special needs (social emotional, cognitive, physical, etc.).


QUALITY STANDARD 12: Program uses, to fidelity, research based developmentally appropriate whole child curriculum(s) (social emotional, math, language, music, art, movement and technology), aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines or equivalent for licensed school-age programs, to inform weekly planning.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 12b: Evidence-informed whole child curriculum(s) are developmentally appropriate for ALL ages served in program and are aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines.


QUALITY STANDARD 13: The early childhood education program uses, to fidelity, a research based whole child observation & assessment, aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines to plan developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and monitor child outcomes.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 13: (b) EC educators contribute to the child assessment portfolio 2 x a year to collect observational information and monitor all children’s progress toward meeting ALL developmental outcomes; and (c) Program shares child assessment results with families at least 1 x a year at a parent teacher conference.

Family & Community Engagement (FCE)
QUALITY STANDARD 15: Program values and intentionally plans for consistent communication and active family involvement in child’s early childhood and school age experiences.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 15d: Families are invited at least twice a year to provide information and/or participate in the development of program activities to provide opportunities for family’s culture to be infused in the program.


QUALITY STANDARD 16: Program provides access to supports and community resources to assist families in: meeting their child’s needs; increasing their knowledge of child development; making social connection; and helping successfully transition their child to school.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 16: (c) In partnership with families, a program develops a transition plan for a child any time they move to a different program or school; and (d) Program prepares 4 year old children and their families for the transition to kindergarten.

LEVEL 5: THRIVING IN HIGHER QUALITY

Click on the below domains to learn more about the Quality Standards & Quality Activities associated with Level 5. Programs working to achieve Level 5 must choose at least 30 points from the Quality Activity Points Menu to work on.  To achieve a Level 5 recognition level, both points and fixed quality activities must be achieved. Download Points Menu | En español

Administration & Leadership (AL)
QUALITY STANDARD 2: Program utilizes a continuous improvement process focused on supporting teachers to: create positive outcomes for children; create individualized and culturally responsive learning environments; engage and partner with families; and cultivate leaders.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 2k: CQIP or annual planning document includes one goal in each of the following quality domain areas: Administration & Leadership; ECE Qualifications & Professional Development; Learning Environment, Adult Child Interactions, and Child outcomes; and Family & Community Engagement.


QUALITY STANDARD 3: Programs demonstrate supports for staff retention, wellness, and sustainable business practices.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 3c: Identifies two quality Level 7 activities from the Business Administration/ Program Administration Scale tool or process of choice.


QUALITY STANDARD 4: Programs demonstrate time and tools to assure early childhood and school age professionals and administration have access to ongoing professional development and coaching supports to advance their skills and knowledge.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 4: (d) Has fiscal resources and program readiness to support an agreement or direct access to mental health consultant, or health consultant, or tertiary level expert for teachers and families; and (e) Has internal capacity and fiscal resources to access an internal Alaska SEED Certified coach. (Home and Group Home are exempt from this quality activity).

Early Childhood Educator Qualifications & Professional Development (ECEQ)
QUALITY STANDARD 6: Early childhood and school age professionals are actively engaged in ongoing professional development to advance Alaska SEED career ladder placement.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 6: (r) A child care center, school district, Early Head Start or Head Start Administrator is an Alaska SEED Level 10; (s) Home and Group Home Administrator is an Alaska SEED level 9; (t) Program leadership team members are an Alaska SEED Level 10; (u) 50% of lead EC educators are an Alaska SEED Level 9; (v) Remaining lead EC educators   are at least an Alaska SEED Level 6; (w) 50% of assistant EC educators are an Alaska SEED Level 6; and (x) Remaining assistant EC educators are at least an Alaska SEED Level 4.
Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions, and Child Outcomes (LE)
QUALITY STANDARD 9: Program uses a classroom assessment tool (environment and adult-child interaction) to advance the quality of the learning environment and relationships designed to support children’s growth and development (ERS, CLASS, or YPQA).
QUALITY ACTIVITY 9d: ERS 5.5 overall score in each classroom OR CLASS score of 5.0 in 2 of 3 subdomains.


QUALITY STANDARD 13: The early childhood education program uses, to fidelity, a research based whole child observation & assessment, aligned to the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines to plan developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and monitor child outcomes.
QUALITY ACTIVITY 13: (d) EC educators contribute to a child assessment portfolio three times a year to collect observational information and monitor child’s progress toward meeting developmental outcomes; and (e) Program shares child assessment results with families at least two times year at a parent teacher conference.

Family & Community Engagement (FCE)
None for this level.

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