The Environment Rating Scale (ERS) is the required tool used for annual program evaluation & the ongoing continuous improvement process.

Classroom/Family Child Care Home (FCCH) must achieve a rating of “Good”, defined as scoring at least an average of 5.0 on each sub-scale on the environmental rating scale.



Interpreting regulations & putting them into practice can be challenging. Below are strategies to ensure this component is met:


ERS Tool Based on Setting

Complete an ERS annually using the appropriate tool for the type of setting & age of children served. 

  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS): Preschool & kindergarten aged children, from 2 through 5 years of age

  • Infant-Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS): Children from birth to 2 ½ years of age  

  • Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCRS): Family child care programs conducted in a provider's home for children from birth through school-age

  • School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS): Before & after school group care programs for school-age children, 5 to 12 years of age

Environment Rating Scale.jpg

IMPORTANT NOTE: Use the Revised (R) editions. Do not order the 3rd editions, as they are significantly different from the ERS revised editions in both content & administration. 

Role of Environment Rating Scale

Designed to measure program quality in a classroom or FCCH setting.

All items measure the environment, along with the programs & educators ability to support children’s basic needs. Basic needs of children include:

  • Protection of their health & safety

  • Supporting, guiding & building positive relationships

  • Providing appropriate learning opportunities

Organizing Classroom/Home Setting

Carefully review & set-up environment using the ITERS or ECERS tool and notes. Pay close attention to the Terms & Notes for Clarification.


Additional Notes for Clarification

(Reminder: Print the Revised (R) editions)


Assessment Day

The assessment is a snapshot of what a typical day looks like in the classroom/FCCH

An assessor will be observing the environment for 3 to 3 ½ hours, which must include drop-off and meal time

Note: During the observation, the assessor is not allowed to interact with the educator or children.


What to Expect: ECERS/ITERS

What to Expect: FCCERS



Each item in the ERS tool will be scored. The goal is to have a minimum score of 5 within each subscale (not item).

When scoring, each section builds onto the next. Start with 1 & work their way up the scale. One of the most common errors when classrooms prepare for the ERS is to jump to 5 or 6. If 1, 2 or 3 are not met, then the score stops. It is not realistic to score 7 across all items.

To determine the subscale average, the subscale items are added together & divided by the total number of items scored


Results/Blueprint for Quality Improvement

Ratings on items are used to gather information on strengths/weaknesses in a variety of areas/items. Results used as a blueprint for improvement.

Data is compiled at the classroom/home, site and program level.

Complete an ERS Summary of Findings for each level


Summary of Findings Instructions & Action Plan




During a monitoring review, the Environment Rating Scale tool will be used to assess the classrooms/home selected by the reviewer. 

Each classroom/home must achieve a rating of “Good”, defined as scoring at least an average of 5.0 on each sub-scale.



Education Code: 8203, 8203.5(a), 8245, 8246(d) & (f)
Title 5: 18270.5(f)(1), 18281  

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