Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS)




Using an environment rating scale helps providers reflect on both the strengths and areas for improvement in their home environment. The environment rating scale is an instrument that measures program quality by rating the education program, the staff development program, parent involvement and education.

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Regulations & Policy

State Title 5 Section 18278

We are required by our funder, the California Department of Education, to annually assess providers participating in our Family Child Care Home Education Network using the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS) Revised Edition. 

Providers 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.


Role of FCCERS

Designed to measure program quality in a FCCH 

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

  • Protection of their health/safety
  • Supporting and guiding positive relationships
  • Providing appropriate learning opportunities

Organizing Environment/Home

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


Subscale 1: Space & Furnishing

Set-up environment so that it promotes safe exploration through all accessible indoor & outdoor areas 

Identify any health/safety hazards inside & outside the home.


Subscales 4, 5 & 6: Activities, Interactions & Program Structure

Accessible is defined as easy reach of children with no barriers. All learning experiences should be free flow. Activities should be offered as a choice for children based on their current level of development and not forced. Activity areas include:

  • Blocks
  • Dramatic Play
  • Fine Motor 
  • Math/Number 
  • Art
  • Using books 
  • Nature /Science 
  • Sand and Water
  • Music and Movement
  • Computers & TV: Limit 30 per minutes per WEEK. None for children under 2
  • Active Physical Play: At least 1 hour outside

Subscale 2: Personal Care Routines

Hello & Good Byes

Mealtimes (Washing hands & sanitization) 

Diapering & Toileting

Sleeping & Resting


Subscale 7: Parents & Providers

There should be a good balance between personal and caregiving responsibilities.

  • Materials are easily understood by parents
  • Organized time for planning and preparing materials/activities for children
  • Easily accessible, well organized space for business record keeping & extra child materials
  • Opportunities are available for Provider and Assistants professional growth 

Subscale 3: Listening and Talking

Encourage children to make predictions, experiments & draw conclusions.

Encourage children to try new things

Expect children to make mistakes & learn from them

Allow children time to learn & practice new skills

Build on children’s interests, while taking children’s individual temperaments & learning styles into account

Ask children ?'s that stretch their thinking

Reminder Notes:

Transitions & wait times for children should be limited to less than 3 minutes

If at any time during an observation a child does not have access to materials for 20 accumulated minutes provider will not be able to receive scoring for much of the day

Assessment Day

The assessment is a snapshot of what a typical day looks like in your family child care home. 

Our office will contact you to schedule a time/date for the assessment. 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 provider or children. In addition, please note that you will not receive the results on the actual assessment day.




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

Ratings are based on levels of quality.  A rating of 1 in any item is not meeting the children’s basic need.

Scale includes 7 sub-scales (Space/Furniture, personal care routines, listening/ talking, activities, interactions, program structure and parents/ providers) each sub-scale has its own items. There are a total of 38 items being scored.

NOTES: When scoring, remember that each section builds onto the next. The assessor will start with 1 and work their way up the scale. One of the most common errors when people prepare for the FCCERS 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 and 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.

Specialist will schedule a time to review the FCCERS results. In collaboration, action steps will be developed for any sub-scales scored below a Good (5) rating. Plan will be recorded on the Summary of Findings form. Program may be able to assist enhancing the provider’s environment with items from the lending library.

Note: Follow-up/Reflection will be done quarterly at regular site visit