Environment Rating Scale Training

Interested in improving the quality of your child care program in a fun and interactive way? Learn how to use Environment Rating Scales to assess and improve the quality of child care programs. You’ll be guided step-by-step through helpful changes that make a difference in your work with children.

Format: Four 2-hour classes
Certification: Approved by Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) for Child Care Professional Development Credit (8 hours), and by National Administrator’s Credential and Iowa State University for Continuing Education Units; meets Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS) requirements (2 points).

Classes are designed for different segments of the early childhood field:

  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3)
    Intended audience: Preschool and child care directors, teachers, and staff caring for preschool children
  • Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-3)
    Intended audience: In-home child care providers of children birth to age 12
  • Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-3)
    Intended audience: Child care providers and teachers in a center-based program caring for infants and toddlers
  • School-Age Environment Rating Scale-U (SACERS-U)
    Intended audience: Teachers and staff providing care for school-age children (ages 5-12 years) in before and after school and summer care programs

Classes are fun, interactive and “hands-on”. Learners will have an opportunity to:

  • talk and share with other early childhood professionals
  • begin a self–assessment
  • participate in an on-site observation
  • practice using the scale
  • begin a program improvement plan
  • complete class assignments to reinforce learning

Each learner will receive an ECERS-3, ITERS-3, FCCERS-3, or SACERS-U book, helpful handouts, a self–assessment form, and program improvement plan.

Find and register for an Environment Rating Scale Class on the Iowa Child Care Provider Training Registry.

Handouts and Resources

Handout 4.2 Profile

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the classes offered and how do I register?
Each series (ECERS-3 / FCCERS-3 / ITERS-3 / SACERS-U) will be offered several times each year in each region of the state. Find dates, locations, and registration information on the Iowa Child Care Provider Training Registry

What does it cost to take the class?
Classes supported through the Iowa QRS are free.

Is it necessary to attend all four classes?
Yes. Each class is built upon experiences and knowledge gained from the previous class.

What is the attendance policy?
Each registered participant MUST attend all four sessions and complete all class assignments. If you miss a session you have dropped the course and must register for the next series.

How does this training meet Iowa QRS requirements?

A director or assistant director can earn two QRS points for their program by completing one of the ITERS-3, ECERS-3 or SACERS-U training series. However, program staff are also welcome to attend if there are available openings. Family child care providers are encouraged to attend the FCCERS-3 training and will earn two QRS points for their program by completing the class and all homework assignments. Learners who complete a self-assessment and a program improvement plan have the opportunity to earn additional QRS points.

Where can I find blank score sheets for all four ERS scales?
Individual blank score sheets can be found on the Environment Rating Scale page.

Where can I learn more about scheduling an Environment Rating Scale Assessment?
Visit the section about the Environment Rating Scale Assessment. If you would like an assessment, call the Environment Rating Scale Assessment Project office at (515) 294-7875.

Environment Rating Scale Assessment

The Environment Rating Scale Assessment is part of Iowa’s Quality Rating System. Early Care and Education programs working towards achieving a 5 star rating will receive an Environment Rating Scale assessment.

  • The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales are nationally recognized tools used to assess and improve the quality of child care programs.
  • All programs assessed will receive a feedback report for each observed classroom. The reports contain valuable information to use towards quality improvement in areas such as health and safety, program structure, teacher-child interactions, activities, language, space and furnishings, parent communication and staff development.
  • Early Childhood Education programs applying for a level five in Iowa’s Quality Rating System will receive Environment Rating Scale assessments. Programs must achieve an average score of 5.0 on each observed classroom to attain a QRS 5 star rating.
  • Funded by Iowa Department of Human Services.

Ready for an ERS Assessment?

Check out the Ready, Set, Go video.

What is an ERS Assessment?

  • A trained assessor, through Iowa State University, will complete an assessment on the requested program by using the appropriate Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-R, ITERS-R, ECERS-R, or SACERS). The assessment consists of a 3- 3 1/2 hour observation followed by a 15- to 20-minute oral interview clarifying a typical day and discussing items not observed.
  • Center-based programs requesting an assessment must have at least 1/3 of all classes assessed and at least one from each rating scale (ITERS-3, ECERS-3, and/ or SACERS-U).
  • Child Development Homes will be assessed on the FCCERS-3.
  • In order to receive an assessment the child development homeowner or center-based director, supervisor, or principal must complete the appropriate ERS training.

To learn more about the Environment Rating Scales, visit the ERS Institute. If you would like an assessment, call the Environment Rating Scale Assessment office at (515) 294-7875. Call at least one month in advance to reserve a date(s) for an assessor to visit your program. Keep in mind our busiest time of the year is from February - May.

Frequently Asked Questions - ERS Information and Terms