SACERS “Strive for Five” Requirements

At the higher QRIS levels, programs are encouraged to aim for a score of 5 on each ERS item, which has been associated with improved child outcomes. This resource is designed to assist you in preparing your environment as you “Strive for Five”. While it won’t always be possible to achieve a score of 5 on each item, this list will help to identify the kinds of materials that contribute to improving overall program quality. This resource does not include all of the items in the ERS tool, so for more complete information and to review the most recent updates to the SACERS Notes for Clarification, please visit

Item 1 Indoor space

  • Space is in good repair
  • Ample indoor space for number of children enrolled (Ex. spacious areas allow children to move freely; space for furnishings and activities without limiting children’s movement).
  • Good ventilation, some natural lighting through windows or skylight.
  • Space is well maintained (Ex. floors cleaned, carpeting vacuumed, trash cleared).

Item 3 Space for privacy

  • Space is set aside for one or two children to play, protected from intrusion by others (Ex. no-interruption rule; loft area).
  • Children are permitted to create their own private spaces (Ex. can move some furnishings to create privacy).
  • Spaces are easy to supervise while ensuring privacy.

Item 4 Room arrangement

  • Separate area for homework or other quiet study. Note: can be scored as N/A if doing homework or quiet study is not part of the program.
  • Three or more interest areas defined and conveniently equipped (Ex. Water provided if needed area; shelving adequate).
  • Quiet and active centers separated.
  • Centers are arranged to promote independent use by children (Ex. labeled, open shelves).
  • Separate area is quiet, not crowded, and has suitable furniture for homework or other quiet study.

Item 5 Furnishings for routine care

  • Sufficientnumber of routine care furnishings, with separate storage provision required for each child’s belongings.
  • Tables and chairs are child-sized for 75% of the children enrolled.
  • All furniture is sturdy and in good repair
  • Adaptive furniture permits inclusion of children with disabilities

Item 6 Furnishings for learning and recreational activities

  • Sufficient, convenient storage for extra materials
  • Basic furnishings for learning and recreational activities of appropriate size, accessible for daily use, and well maintained.
  • Some provision in the space used by the group most of the time for display of work done by the children and materials of interest to them.

Item 7 Furnishings for relaxation and comfort*

  • A considerable amount of softnessregularly accessible to children (Ex. cushions in reading area, couches in music/listening area, several carpeted areas.
  • Children have access to many soft furnishings for at least one-third of the time they are in care.

*Please note: in order for any soft furnishings to be given credit, they must be accessible to children and be large enough for several children to use in play.

Item 14 Safety practices

  • No major safety hazards indoors or outdoors.
  • Essentials needed to handle emergencies available (Ex. telephone, first aid kit, written emergency procedures)
  • ** Examples of some major indoor hazards include:

No safety caps on electrical sockets

Loose electrical cords

Heavy objects or furniture children can pull down

Any glass items (Ex. fish bowls, vase, picture frame, lamp with light bulb)

Mats or rugs that can slide

Open stairwells accessible

Play areas in front of doors

** Examples of some outdoor safety problems include:

Tools not meant for children’s use are accessible

Any substance labeled “keep out of reach of children” not locked away

Sharp or dangerous objects present

Unsafe walkways or stairs

Easy access to road

Play equipment too high, not well maintained, unanchored

Play equipment poses threat of entrapment; injury from pinchpoints or projections

Item 19 Arts and crafts

  • Materials are in good condition (Ex. felt pens not dried out, clay soft enough to work).
  • At least one type from the three different categories of art materials accessible daily (Ex. collage, tempera paints, origami).
  • Categories of materials include:drawing materials (felt pens, crayons, and pencils); paints (tempera, watercolor); collage; sculpture (modeling with clay, playdough, wood or paper box construction); crafts (e.g., weaving, origami, jewelry making, and embroidery).

Item 20 Music and movement

  • Music and movement activities accessible for free choice (Ex. listening to tapes or CD’s, dancing, musical instruments)
  • Various types of musical experience are accessible (Ex. classical and popular music, songs in different languages, music/instruments from different cultures).

**Please note: “various types” means that there must be materials form two of the three categories: recorded music (cassettes or CD’s), dance props, musical instruments. Children should have the options of using them for at least 30 minutes daily.

Item 21 Blocks and construction

  • Some blocks or at least one interlocking construction materials accessible daily.
  • Sufficient space and materials for three or more children to use at the same time.
  • Accessories of various types to use with blocks or interlocking construction materials (Ex: appropriately sized people, animals, vehicles; accessories for different themes such as knights, pirates, farming).

Item 22 Dramatic play/theatre

  • Some support offered by staff (Ex: staff has made space and materials needed for play accessible to the children.
  • Variety of dramatic paly materials for both boys and girls that support many roles and situations (Ex: work, adventure, fantasy, theatrical productions).

Item 23 Language/reading activities

  • Many appropriate books and language games accessible daily (Ex: Junior Scrabble, Pictionary, Clue).
  • Age-appropriate stories read or told at least weekly (Ex: felt-board pieces to supplement stories told to younger children; chapter books read in installments for older children).
  • Children encouraged to use reading/writing in practical situations (Ex: read instructions for games, write letter to friends, retrieve information online). Note: more than one instance of this must be observed during the observation.

Item 24 Math/reasoning activities

  • Variety of age-appropriate math/reasoning games and/or activities accessible for free choice daily.
  • **Materials include:

For K: puzzles, number games, dominoes, Veritec, board games (e.g., Chutes and ladders).

For Grades 1 and up: chess, checkers, Veritec, backgammon, dominoes, board games (e.g., Stratego, Monopoly, RUSHHOUR).

Item 25 Science/nature activities

  • Variety of science/nature games accessible daily (Ex. nature puzzles, activities with magnets, puzzles).
  • Children are involved in caring for and observing living things (Ex. help feel class pet or water plants in room).
  • Special activities to give the children a more extended opportunity to observe nature offered twice a year (Ex. sprouting seeds to plant, watching display of caterpillars turn into butterflies, planting and caring for a garden).

Item 26 Cultural awareness

  • Many (at least four easily visible examples of different types of diversity must be present, other than gender) multicultural materials visible that reflect the diversity of peoples.
  • Non-sexist materials visible (Ex. pictures and books depicting males and females in non-traditional roles).