Spark, Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System

Ready to get started?

In this section you will find information and resources that will help you get started with Oregon's Spark.

Get support from your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R). They can connect you with a Quality Improvement Specialists who will provide technical assistance and resources that will help you improve the quality of your child care program and can get you started on your Spark journey. Call your local Quality Improvement Specialist to find out how they can help you and your program.

Move up on the Oregon Registry!

Oregon's Spark Personnel Qualifications standards are based on the Oregon Registry. Be sure that you and your staff have submitted the correct documentation to receive the most current Step on the Oregon Registry.

Get your policies and procedures written down and up to date!

You know what you do and why you do it, but does your staff? Do parents, families and community? Develop and/or update written policies on things like behavior management, meal times, personnel policies, inclusion, parent engagement, etc. Start drafting or refining your policies now, to reflect how your program operates. You can attend a workshop on policy development at Oregon Registry Online

Get parents involved in your program!

Including families in your program is an important part of quality. Take a look at your program and assess how much parent involvement you have. How do you engage parents and families? Evaluate what you do well and work towards best practice family engagement! You can download the Family Survey and begin using it today!

Learn about research based screening and assessment tools and how to use them!

Oregon's Spark mirrors Oregon's Early Learning Council emphasis on screening and assessing children. If you are not already using research based tools to screen and assess your children, you can attend a training to learn about them and choose the best option for your program on the Oregon Registry or visit

Make sure your program uses a curriculum that supports all children's learning and development!

There are a number of well-respected curriculum used by early childhood programs that satisfy the criteria of Oregon's Spark. Remember, choosing and implementing a curriculum that is right for you takes time so get started now! Find a class on the ORO training calendar to learn more about implementing curriculum.

Overview of Domains and Standards

Already started your journey of continuous quality improvement? Have questions about the portfolio? Find our more information here!

Children's Learning & Development

This is the largest domain and covers the learning environment - both the physical environment and the curriculum or program of learning. It emphasizes having an intentional philosophy and program of learning which requires planning and input from child screening and assessment. It also covers optimizing children's social and emotional health through appropriate adult-child interactions and having an environment that is optimal in terms of size, arrangement and equipment, accessible to all children and culturally appropriate.

Key Standards

  1. The program is guided by a written statement of philosophy.
  2. The program uses a curriculum that supports all children's learning and development.
  3. The program uses information from screening and assessment to measure development and learning in order to make referrals and do program planning.
  4. The program facilitates and supports appropriate adult-child interactions, including: social and emotional support; organization and management of children's behavior, time and attention; and instructional support.
  5. The program facilitates and supports children's positive social and emotional development.

Health & Safety

This domain focuses on health and safety items that are beyond what is required in licensing. Health and hygiene instruction is given in a positive way and covers toileting, germ transmission and tooth brushing. In addition to healthy eating and fitness habits being encouraged, staff are required to address individual health needs of children if needed and consult with other professionals. Screen time limits have been included here as they relate to health as opposed to curriculum or learning.

Key Standards

  1. Children are provided instruction and support to independently manage health and hygiene practices.
  2. Children are provided instruction and support on safety rules and expectations.
  3. Healthy eating and fitness habits are supported and encouraged.
  4. Program personnel collaborate with health and health-related service professionals to address the individual health needs of children as applicable.
  5. Program provides appropriate use and modeling on children's "screen" viewing time.

Personnel Qualifications

This domain is focused on the need for highly qualified staff receiving ongoing advancement of their knowledge and skills. The Oregon Registry is used to measure personnel qualifications and ongoing professional development. This domain requires action on the part of employees to submit their information to the Registry as well as time to participate in the professional development.

Key Standards

  1. The program's leader is currently qualified to serve in their position through education, training and experience.
  2. The program's head teacher(s) and teacher(s) are currently qualified to serve in their position through education, training and experience.
  3. The program's assistant II(s) (Family) and aide II(s) (Center) are currently qualified to serve in their position through education, training and experience.
  4. Program personnel continue to advance their knowledge and skills through participation in training and/or college course credits annually that are part of a professional development plan.

Family Partnerships

This domain focuses on reciprocal relationships with families. It requires that programs use the provided "Family Survey" which asks questions about how families feel their input is solicited, how open the communication is and if they are encouraged to participate in the program. It also asks how well the program provides information to families both about the program and outside resources.

Key Standards

  1. The program uses family input and feedback to guide all aspects of program planning and implementation.
  2. The program meets the individual needs of children through mutually respectful, two-way communication.
  3. Families are encouraged to be regular and frequent participants in the program.
  4. The program provides support and information to assist the family in meeting their child's needs and goals.

Administration & Business Practices

This domain focuses on good business practices and professionalism which are important not only to stay in business, but to retain personnel which impacts continuity of care. It also covers program evaluation which helps to promote quality and continuous improvement.

Key Standards

  1. The program follows sound business practices, policies and procedures that support financial health.
  2. In programs where there are multiple employees, the program assures a professional working climate, and promotes positive working relationships and professionalism.
  3. A comprehensive program evaluation process is developed and performed annually.

Monitoring of Standards

Spring 2018: The Research Institute and the Early Learning Division are doing a pilot of an on-site Spark data collection process. Specific Licensing specialists will use a Spark data collection checklist ( English , Spanish  ) during regularly scheduled monitoring or renewal visits. The data collection process and list will be discussed with programs at the start of, during, and after the visit. The checklist will help the licensing specialist observe Spark standards being met in your program in addition to the regular licensing checklist. 

This is a small pilot, so approximately  50 programs across the state will experience a Spark data collection portion of a visit. The programs involved will vary depending on location, timing of visit, and star rating. This pilot is for data collection purposes only and will not affect star ratings. The regular licensing checklist and visit will still occur. If serious valid violations are found, these can impact a star rating.

Please note that all star rated programs must to maintain the standards required for their star rating. Please see the above standards.

Spark Groups

Want to connect to people or programs that share your rating? Connect with them here!

Groups are a place for members and staff of the Spark community to communicate, share materials, and help each other.
Don't see the group you are looking for?

Click here to see all Spark groups.

The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 |