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Colorado Shines

Quality early childhood care and education programs prepare children for success in school and life. Colorado Shines offers a statewide rating system for licensed early learning programs. Colorado Shines helps connect programs with families looking for quality child care or preschools for their children, while also helping programs improve their quality level. Participation is free. Programs can apply for quality ratings and support regardless of educational philosophy and can improve quality at a pace that works for the individual program.

If you are interested in participating in Colorado Shines, please email Amy at amy.leininger@mesacounty.us to setup a time to talk.

Colorado Shines Ratings

Coaching can help childcare providers capitalize on existing high quality practices while also assisting them in making changes that help them climb higher on Colorado Shines’ five-level rating system. Read about one participant’s experience here.

Interim Virtual Colorado Shines Rating Process


Level 1: Your program is currently licensed and in good standing with the State of Colorado.

Level 2: Your program is licensed and in good standing, plus it:

  • Has a quality improvement plan in place
  • Has conducted the L2 Quality Indicator Program Assessment
  • Has registered staff in the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS)
  • Has completed Colorado Shines Level 2 E-learning Courses

Levels 3-5: Your program is licensed and in good standing, plus it:

  • Has completed the Level 2 requirements
  • Has been assessed and rated by a Colorado Shines Quality Rating Assessor based on points in five categories
    • A Quality Rating Assessor will assess ratings at Levels 3-5. Clayton Early Learning has contracted with the State to provide Ratings Administration.

Provider Portals

Access tools to help drive quality programming and measure success below.


Quality Improvement Guide to help navigate the process

Hub Login

Access QRIS, ATS, PDIS, & Licensing from this Hub.


Portal to spend Quality Improvement dollars

Complete your order by selecting this ecConnect Order Form and clicking “Make a Copy.”

Capital Improvements

Programs that are participating in Colorado Shines may be eligible for capital improvement funding of up to $7,500 every other fiscal year.

DEFINITION: A capital improvement is the addition of a permanent structural change or the restoration of some aspect of a property that will either enhance the property’s overall value, increase its useful life or adapt it to new uses.


  •  Requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are fully expended
  •  Maximum request: $7,500
  • Colorado Shines QI Capital funds may not be used to meet matching fund requirements for other grant funds
    •  State approval depends on available funding and strength of the request
    •  Programs that serve only preschool aged children are not eligible for these funds


  • Programs must be a Level 2 or higher, have an active CCAP agreement and have a signed CSQI MOU in place
    • If you received these funds during the last fiscal year (2019 – 2020), you are not eligible to apply this year. 
  • Programs need to show active infant and/or toddler enrollment (NOTE: Centers must be licensed to serve children under 30 months of age to qualify)
  • Funds must be used to support programs that serve infants/toddlers and demonstrate how children birth to 3 will be impacted
  • Projects must tie to a goal(s) in the program’s Quality Improvement Plan in Colorado Shines
  • By submitting this application, applicants are aware the information contained within their submission may be discussed or shared with the program’s coach, coaching agency, licensing specialist, the state and other key partners