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Gateway to Quality

The Gateway to Quality program was launched to provide external validation of Environment Rating Scale (Ers) scoring improvements for First 5 Mini-grant applications.

First 5 Sonoma County’s Mini-Grant Program is available to child care providers and early childhood educators seeking to improve the quality of their child care environments. The Gateway to Quality Mini-Grant Program is intended to support child care providers who are seeking to improve the quality of their child care environments as scored on the Environment Rating Scales. Applicants must have successfully completed an academic course (or equivalent) in Harms-Clifford Environment Rating Scales (Ecers and Fccrs). As part of First 5 Sonoma County’s Mini-Grant programs, awards made through this program shall be used for materials and equipment, facility improvements, and other quality improvement projects. Quality Improvement Validators  will collaborate with applicants to insure that items requested address Environment Rating Scale improvements.

Accepted to the Portfolio: February 2013

Target Outcomes

Short Term Outcomes

  • Mini-grant applications that continue through the First 5 process are validated
  • Child care providers have information they need to use ERS
  • Gateway to Quality process runs smoothly
  • Grant applications are submitted by new applicants

Long Term Outcomes

  • Sonoma County has a core group of trained, reliable Ers validators
  • Quality improvements are sustained and built upon
  • Providers can use Ers to assess their programs independent of grant programs

Target Population


  • Early Childhood (0 - 5)
  • Adults (25 - 60)

Service Area


  • Southeast (District 1)
  • Southwest (District 2)
  • Central (District 3)
  • Northeast (District 4)
  • Northwest (District 5)