(1) Each applicable child care and early childhood education program which applies under section 71-1957 to participate in the quality rating and improvement system developed pursuant to section 71-1955 shall be rated on a quality scale using ratings labeled steps one through five and based on quality rating criteria.
(2) Quality rating criteria shall be used to assign a quality scale rating as appropriate for the specific step. The criteria shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Licensing requirements as specified in the Child Care Licensing Act;
(b) Facility safety and management;
(c) Child development and school readiness outcomes;
(d) Program curriculum, learning environment, and adult-child interactions;
(e) Professional development and training;
(f) Family engagement;
(g) Program administration;
(h) Standards used by nationally recognized accrediting bodies approved by the State Department of Education; and
(i) Other standards as required by the State Department of Education for prekindergarten services and prekindergarten programs established pursuant to section 79-1104 and federal performance standards for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.