As we celebrate 30 excellent years of NAEYC Accreditation and look ahead to many more to come, we are releasing monthly “Top 30” lists related to different aspects of NAEYC Accreditation. These lists will serve as an informative resource for any program or individual looking to improve the quality learning environment they offer their young children and staff. We also hope to have a little fun as we go!
The newest list is available below. Click here to view previous "Top 30" lists!
30 Things Families Recognize About NAEYC-Accredited Programs
Since 1985, NAEYC Accreditation has been the gold standard for excellence in the field of early childhood education, currently accrediting more than 7,000 programs that serve more than 600,000 children.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of NAEYC Accreditation, we are releasing a series of top-30 lists, each focusing on a particular aspect of the accreditation process. Our goal is to provide you with a fun, behind-the-scenes look at the NAEYC Accreditation process.
This month, we focus on families. Families with young children face many challenges when it comes to child care. Inability to recognize high-quality education should not be one of them.
By using its 10 Early Childhood Program Standards, NAEYC Accreditation helps families effectively recognize high-quality early childhood education and feel comfortable knowing their children are receiving early care and education that helps prepare them for future success in school and in life.
Keep reading to learn more about 30 Things Families Recognize About NAEYC-Accredited Programs.
Building Strong Relationships
The program promotes positive relationships among children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community, which fosters children’s desire to contribute as a responsible community member.
Children AND adults feel welcome when they visit the program. Adults see teachers helping newly enrolled children adjust to the program environment and develop friendships with other children.
The program’s staff engage often in warm, friendly conversations with individual children and recognize children’s work and accomplishments.
- Families see children learning to resolve conflicts by identifying feelings, describing problems, and trying alternative solutions. Teaching staff never punish children.
While NAEYC Accreditation does not prescribe a specific curriculum, families know that NAEYC-accredited programs implement a curriculum that is consistent with the program’s goals for children. Families can see that the curriculum promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language and literacy.
Children are given ample opportunity throughout the day to learn and develop through exploration and play. Teachers work with individual children and small groups on specific skills.
- Teachers and administrators work together to balance different activities and approaches to maximize children’s learning and development.
Families understand that children have different learning styles, needs, capacities, interests, cultures, backgrounds, and even languages. They love that NAEYC-accredited programs honor these differences, using developmentally appropriate teaching approaches to incorporate children’s cultures and languages—and other elements of their differing backgrounds—into the curriculum to enrich each child’s learning and development.
Families can see their children’s recent work displayed in the classroom. This makes adults proud and helps children reflect on their learning!
- Teachers modify teaching strategies and materials to respond to the needs and interests of individual children, engaging each child and enhancing his or her learning.
Assessment of Child Progress
NAEYC-accredited programs evaluate children’s learning using a variety of assessment methods, such as observations, checklists, and rating scales.
Assessment methods are appropriate for each child’s age and level of development, and they encompass all areas of development and learning, including math, science, literacy, and other content areas; language development; social and emotional growth; and physical skills.
- Families receive information about their child’s development and learning on a regular basis, including through meetings or conferences.
NAEYC-accredited programs promote the nutrition and health of children and protect children and staff from illness and injury. Children must be healthy and safe in order to learn and grow. Programs must be healthy and safe to support children’s healthy development.
Teachers at NAEYC-accredited centers have training in pediatric first aid.
- Programs have a clear plan in place for responding to illness, including ways to decide whether a child needs to go home and how the child’s family will be notified.
Teachers who have specific knowledge about and skills in child development and early childhood education are likely to provide positive experiences for children. Teachers at NAEYC-accredited programs have the necessary qualifications to promote children’s learning and development and support families’ diverse needs and interests.
Many NAEYC-accredited programs make provisions for ongoing staff development, including orientation for new staff members and opportunities for continuing education.
- Teachers at NAEYC-accredited programs have educational qualifications and specialized knowledge about young children and early childhood development. Families see many teachers with Child Development Associate (CDA) Credentials, associate degrees, or higher degrees.
Educators and administrators in NAEYC-accredited programs establish and maintain collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings. These relationships are based on mutual trust and respect and are sensitive to family composition, language, and culture.
Teachers and staff talk with families about their family structure and their views on childrearing and use that information to adapt the curriculum and their teaching methods to the families served.
- Program information—including policies and operating procedures—is provided in a language that families can understand.
NAEYC-accredited programs establish relationships with agencies and institutions in the community in order to connect families with resources that support their children’s healthy development and learning.
- Families see programs connecting with and promoting local resources—museums, parks, libraries, zoos, businesses—in the community. Representatives from community programs, such as musical performers and local artists, are invited to share their interests, knowledge, and talents with the children.
NAEYC-accredited programs offer a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. The environment includes facilities, equipment, and materials to facilitate child and staff learning and development.
The physical facilities are designed so that staff can see and hear all the children they supervise.
- Programs have necessary furnishings, such as hand-washing sinks, child-size chairs and tables, and cots, cribs, beds, or sleeping pads. Other materials and equipment appropriate for children’s ages and stages of development are available, and everything is kept clean, safe, and in good repair.
Leadership and Management
NAEYC-accredited programs are licensed by all applicable state agencies.
Families receive the program’s written policies and procedures and understand the program’s philosophy and curriculum goals, policies on guidance and discipline, and health and safety procedures.
- Families see appropriate class sizes and ratios of teaching staff to children.
Speak directly with NAEYC Early Learning Program staff about the NAEYC Accreditation process, educational qualifications, groups, and much more by submitting a Consultation Request.