How To Apply

How it Works

Licensed child care centers, family child care homes, preschools in public schools and stand-alone school-age programs are eligible to apply for a BrightStars rating. Programs that participate in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are required to participate in BrightStars to maintain their CCAP Approval.

Getting Started

Submit Application Materials

Submit a complete application and all required materials to BrightStars. Your application will be reviewed by BrightStars, and you will be contacted if there are materials missing.

Receive Your
Program Rating

After the site visit is completed and all of your reports are finalized, your program will be awarded a star rating ranging from 1 to 5 stars.

Set Program
Improvement Goals

A Quality Rating and Improvement Specialist will conduct a feedback visit and discuss goals for improvement and also receive referrals for resources available to your program.

Market Your Program Locally

Your program’s BrightStars rating is posted online and you will also receive materials from BrightStars to market your program in your community to parents and stakeholders.

Submit Quality
Improvement Plan

Your program is required to submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) within three (3) months from the date star rating is awarded that should include the goals that your program will address.

Ongoing Support & Requirements

Basic requirements to keep rating and ongoing support from BrightStars

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A BrightStars rating is valid for three (3) years. During those three years, a Quality Rating and Improvement Specialist will offer support to help programs advance along Rhode Island’s Quality Continuum and achieve their desired goals.

During these three years programs:

To continue participating in BrightStars programs must submit a renewal application and be re-assessed on the third year of BrightStars participation. 

BrightStars Assessment

BrightStars assesses child care centers, preschools in public schools, family child care homes and stand-alone school-age programs across multiple quality standards and quality criteria, and one or more unannounced site visits may be conducted. Following the assessment, BrightStars works with early care and education programs to further implement best practices related to quality.

BrightStars assesses the quality standards using two methods:

Document Review

BrightStars gathers and reviews documentation submitted with the application and uses it to assess the different standards.

Direct Observation

BrightStars conducts one or more unannounced site visits to assess certain quality standards. Trained and reliable Program Assessors conduct the assessments.

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