What is NAEYC? In-Depth Guide

What is NAEYC Accreditation?

Finding a quality early childhood program for your child can be overwhelming. Will my child be safe? Will they like it? What’s the student to teacher ratio? Keeping your eye out for programs with a NAEYC accreditation can help steer you in the right direction.

First, what is NAEYC? The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the largest nonprofit organization that represents early childhood educators, families of young children, policymakers, and advocates in the United States.

Second, who founded the NAEYC? The NAEYC was first created by Patty Smith Hill out of the concern over the quality of the various nursery schools that were being established in the 1920s.

In 1985, NAEYC began their accreditation process, serving as an essential tool that families across the United States have relied on to find high-quality early childhood education for their young children. All NAEYC-accredited child care facilities share the belief that your children’s high-quality experiences at home, in child care, and at school are fundamental for school readiness, academic success, and future adult achievement.

preschoolers playing

What is NAEYC and why is it important?

Finding a NAEYC accredited program can help parents find the highest quality early childhood experiences for their children. NAEYC is focused on promoting high-quality learning by supporting the rights and needs of children through high-quality educational services. Accredited programs have demonstrated that they provide a safe and healthy environment for children, have highly qualified and well trained teachers , excellent teaching materials, and a curriculum that is appropriately challenging and developmentally sound. A NAEYC accredited program has all of the resources necessary, for both families and teachers alike, to allow children to thrive in an enriching environment dedicated to helping them reach their potential.

How can they guarantee these elements crucial to your child’s success? The 10 standards of excellence.

10 NAEYC Standards of Excellence

NAEYC promotes high-quality learning by connecting practice, policy, and research dedicated to ten different standards of excellence. These principles lay the foundation of NAEYC and professional standards and are the prerequisites to accreditation. 

  1. Relationships: Promote positive relationships between all children and adults to encourage each person’s sense of individual worth.
  2. Curriculum: Implement a curriculum that fosters all areas of child development: cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social.
  3. Teaching: Use developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches.
  4. Assessment of Child Progress: Provide ongoing assessments of each child’s learning and development and communicate the child’s progress to the family.
  5. Health: Promote the nutrition and health of children and protect children and staff from illness and injury.
  6. Staff Competencies, Preparation, and Support: Employ and support a teaching staff that has the early childhood educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse interests and needs.
  7. Families: Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with each child’s family.
  8. Community Relationships: Establish relationships with and use the resources of the community to support the achievement of program goals.
  9. Physical Environment: Provide safe, healthy, and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments.
  10. Leadership and Management: Implement strong personnel, fiscal, and program management policies so that all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.

NAEYC Accreditation: No Small Feat

Through its prestigious review process, the National Association for the Education of Young Children ensures quality early childhood experiences. Of the more than 130,000 child care centers operating in the United States, only around 7,000 (~5%) child care centers are NAEYC-accredited. By earning accreditation, schools become leaders in a national effort to raise the quality of early childhood education, and to help give all children a better start.

NAEYC accreditation requires a long-term commitment to meeting strict quality standards based on the ten standards of excellence. Schools undergo an intensive process that involves rigorous self-assessment, documenting evidence of adherence to the 10 standards of excellence, and a formal evaluation by a NAEYC representative. Early childhood educators, parents, and administrators are justifiably proud of completing the process and earning accreditation. Once achieved, accreditation is not permanent. Accreditation is maintained to continuously ensure that the center’s environment, policies, and practices are aligned with the most up-to-date NAEYC standards. 

“We’re proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards among early childhood programs.”

NAEYC Accreditation at Kids’ Care Club

“We’re proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards among early childhood programs,” says Trudy Khodabande, owner of Kids’ Care Club Child Development Centers. “NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our programs are getting the highest-quality care and early education experiences.”

When parents choose a NAEYC-accredited school, they can be sure that they have selected the highest quality education for their children. Kids’ Care Club has two accredited locations in 4S Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos, serving the North County communities of San Diego. At Kids’ Care Club, parents and teachers know that “Early Years are Learning Years!”

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