Finding Quality Childcare for Families

Finding Quality Childcare:

Early learning is so important that many parents begin the search for child care options months before a baby is even born. They know that finding a high-quality program is a critical first step in ensuring a child’s growth and development. No matter where you are in that process, Colorado Shines – the state’s quality rating and improvement system – is here to help you to identify the best child care solution for you and your family.

There are many factors that parents and caregivers should consider when looking for child care, including availability, cost and location. Studies show time and time again that quality is the most important consideration because children grow and develop so much in their first years of life.

How to Find Quality Early Learning Programs in Your Community: 

  • Think about the kind of care you need (a center, home-based care, Head Start, etc.)
  • Search for a quality child care program and see if you qualify for financial support for free at
  • Visit a few programs and ask questions

Top 5 Questions to Ask:

  1. Is your program licensed by the State of Colorado and rated by Colorado Shines?
  2. How will my child spend his/her day? What is a typical day like for children here?
  3. What training have you and your staff had?
  4. What kind of daily communication will I receive?
  5. How can I participate?

Colorado Shines offers a reliable rating that families can trust. Just by participating in Colorado Shines, early learning programs are showing their commitment to quality and continuous improvement. All programs are rated on a scale of quality Levels 1 through 5.

LEVEL 1: The program is licensed by the State of Colorado and meets basic health and safety standards.

LEVEL 2: The program meets the requirements of Level 1 and is taking specific steps to improve its quality.

LEVEL 3-5: The program has completed an intensive process to demonstrate quality in the following areas:

  • Support for children’s health and safety
  • Well-trained and effective staff
  • Supportive learning environment that teaches children new skills
  • Helping families be active in their child’s learning
  • Strong leadership and business practices