What Is the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct in Child Care?

Kids’ Care Club takes its mission of providing a nurturing, caring environment for children seriously.

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct is at the heart of all Kids’ Care Club activities and operations. Not only does it help educators provide optimal early childhood development, but it lets parents rest easy knowing their children are in the best possible hands.

What Is the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct?

For childcare centers, the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct offers principles for responsible behavior in a care setting. Included in the code are ways to resolve ethical questions in early childhood education and childcare.

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct details the operating standards of childcare centers and the responsibilities of the facility and the early childhood education specialists to children, families, governmental stakeholders, and their communities.

The Code of Ethical Conduct also spells out the responsibilities of childcare facilities to the early childhood educators they employ. Those employees’ duties to their childcare facility are also included. The facility and its employees also have duties to sponsoring agencies and government as well as to the community at large.

The core values of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct include these ideals:

  • Providing a safe and nurturing environment where children can learn and grow
  • Appreciating the stage of early childhood as unique and valuable
  • Basing work on knowledge of how children develop and learn
  • Support the bonds between children and their families
  • Respecting the dignity and worth of families
  • Respecting the unique qualities of each individual
  • Respecting the diversity of children, families, and colleagues
  • Recognizing that children and adults reach their full potential in the context of relationships based on trust and respect

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct works as a trusted framework for productive and healthy relationships and responsibilities among a childcare facility and all its stakeholders, including families and the children in their care. Following the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct will result in stronger communities and families, and most of all, better care and education for children.

two preschoolers playing together

What Are the 5 Ideals of the NAEYC Ethical Code of Conduct?

Included in the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct are five principles based on the stakeholders in early childhood education and care. These include:

1. Ethical Responsibilities to Children

The most important pillar of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct states that early childhood educators must protect children in their care from abuse and have the responsibility of immediately reporting any suspicions of a child being harmed.

The Code of Ethical Conduct recognizes that children develop differently and that those individual differences should be respected. Childcare, the code states, should nurture children and help them learn to live, play, and work cooperatively.

NAEYC, in its Code of Ethical Conduct, requires early childhood educators to provide a safe environment for children to grow and programs and materials for children to learn. Early childhood education specialists should stay informed of the latest research in early childhood development.

Early childhood educators promote children’s competence, self-worth, resiliency, self-awareness, and physical well-being.

Key Ideals

  • Caring for children in safe, positive social environments that support each child’s culture, language, ethnicity, and family structure 
  • Using appropriate assessment systems with multiple sources of information to provide information on a child’s level of development 
  • Building individual relationships with each child 
  • Using individualized teaching plans and consulting with parents to provide the best possible educational experience for each child 
  • Connecting families with the appropriate specialists, if needed, to help children succeed. 
  • Protecting children from harm and reporting any signs of abuse to the appropriate authorities 

2. Ethical Responsibilities to Families

Families are integral to a child’s development. Because parents and early childhood educators have a common interest in a child’s development, they should work together for the good of the child. Communication, collaboration, and cooperation between parents and educators are essential.

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct followed by Kids’ Care Club details early childhood educators’ relationship with the parents of the children in their care. NAEYC calls for parents and educators to work together to help children reach their full potential.

The Code of Ethical Conduct details how early childhood educators should communicate with parents. Communication between homes and schools should be open, with educators welcoming parents to visit and experience the school’s learning environment.

NAEYC recommends that schools ensure that parents understand communication sent home to them by using each family’s home language. This can sometimes be difficult in a culturally diverse population, but at Kids’ Care Club we take this responsibility seriously. With bilingual employees from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, we are often able to provide translation services from a native speaker. When we don’t have any staff who are fluent in a family’s home language, we utilize translation apps to ensure that parents understand us and we understand them.

Key Ideals 

  • Allowing families access to their children’s classrooms unless denied by court order  
  • Keeping families informed of programs, policies, curriculum, practices, and personnel qualifications 
  • Informing families of policy decisions 
  • Involving families in significant decisions affecting their children 
  • Communicate effectively with families in the languages they understand 
  • Ensuring families’ input is an important part of planning and implementing educational programs 

3. Ethical Responsibilities to Personnel

Childcare facilities have a responsibility to provide a safe and respectful workplace to the early childhood educators they employ. Likewise, these employees have a responsibility to their employer to provide quality service and uphold the facility’s high standards.

The same principles of safety required for children under the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct are also essential for colleagues in a childcare setting. At Kids’ Care Club, employees’ dignity is respected and teachers form a positive, collaborative relationship. Professional growth is encouraged and a part of each teacher’s position through our triannual Staff Development Days.

At Kids’ Care Club locations, personnel are respected and valued. Collaboration is celebrated, as it reveals best practices that benefit caregivers, families, and the children for whom we care.

Likewise, NAEYC states that personnel have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations of the childcare center and provide the highest quality service and care.

Key Ideals

  • Establishing and nurturing a culture of communication, collaboration, and cooperation among teachers 
  • Supporting teachers and coworkers in professional development and continuing education 
  • Recognizing the professional development and achievements of employees 

4. Ethical Responsibilities to Sponsoring Agencies and Governing Bodies

Childcare centers have the responsibility to follow the rules set by sponsoring agencies and local, state, and national governments. This ranges from the operation of early childhood facilities to the educational and developmental programs provided and the business operations of childcare centers.

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct mandates that childcare facilities communicate openly with these essential early childhood education stakeholders and comply with all regulations regarding child welfare, education, and business.

Early childhood care providers must also connect families with agencies and governmental offices that could offer them help and resources for raising their children.

Sponsoring agencies and governmental bodies are key stakeholders for childcare facilities. They must hold these early childhood facilities to high standards that serve children and the surrounding community well.

Key Ideals

  • Supporting and abiding by laws and policies that support the well-being of children and families
  • Working to change regulations that would harm children
  • Participation in the development of policies and laws regarding children and early childhood education

5. Ethical Responsibilities to Community and Society

Early childhood programs provide a vital service to their communities. Childcare programs have the ethical responsibility of protecting children from harm and helping them reach their full potential. Early childhood education serves the community by equipping young children with a lifelong love of learning, and to be ready for the beginning of Kindergarten. 

This early childhood preparation helps them excel in their classes throughout their academic careers and develop into moral and contributive individuals. While early childhood educational facilities serve children and their families, the work of early childhood educators has a great impact on the community at large.

Early childhood education facilities and their educators are essential to a child’s development. Their work can determine how well a child is prepared for school. More than just daycare while parents work, early childhood education is a community service on which many depend.

Key Ideals

  • To provide a nurturing and environmentally safe place where children receive care, food, and shelter as well as quality educational opportunities
  • Promoting knowledge of young children and their needs
  • Promoting early childhood education as a profession

teamwork in preschoolers


Why Is It Important for Parents To Know These Things?

Kids’ Care Club follows the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The NAEYC is the largest organization of early childhood educators in the United States.

Only childcare centers that meet the highest standards of quality are accredited by NAEYC. Only about 7 percent of the more than 80,000 childcare centers in America have earned this accreditation.

The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and NAEYC accreditation show an early childhood facility’s long-term commitment to quality and excellence in early childhood development.

Parents need to know about the NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct and NAEYC accreditation when choosing an early childcare provider. Parents who understand their rights and the rights of their children under the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct will find childcare facilities that will serve them best.

Ultimately, their children will benefit from safer conditions, improved early childhood education, and better quality care.

Additional Resources

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