Q1: How long does the NAEYC Accreditation process take?
Step 1: Enrollment/Self-Study is self-paced and self-directed, so the amount of time spent in this step depends on an individual program, its initial level of quality, and how it structures the Self-Study process. Programs should engage in a thorough and meaningful Self-Study and be prepared to commit to a Candidacy due date upon submission of Step 2: Application/Self-Assessment.
Depending on when a program submits its Application and what Candidacy due date is selected, at least 3 months and up to 13 months will occur between Step 2: Application/Self-Assessment and Step 3: Candidacy. If the program is accepted as a candidate, it will receive a site visit within 6 months of the Candidacy due date and an accreditation decision within 3 months of the site visit.
Programs working on an accelerated timeframe can read more about combining Self-Study and Self-Assessment by submitting an Enrollment form and an Application at the same time. For specific accreditation due dates and submission cycles, refer to accreditation timelines.
Q2: What are the fees for NAEYC Accreditation?
Fees vary by program size and are paid at Step 1: Enrollment/Self-Study, Step 2: Application/Self-Assessment, and Step 3: Candidacy. Accredited programs pay an Annual Report fee on the first through fourth anniversaries of the program’s accreditation anniversary date. The fees are spread out over the entire accreditation process, so that a program can build costs into their annual budgets. For more info, see the accreditation fee chart.
Q3: How do programs calculate their fees for NAEYC Accreditation?
Fees are calculated based upon/on the total number of children enrolled in the program at the time the step is initiated and form is submitted. Reference the following information to guide you as you determine your program’s enrollment for accreditation fees.
- Each child is only counted once.
- Each child of eligible age (birth through kindergarten) that is part of an eligible group is counted. All eligible groups MUST be included in your program’s NAEYC Accreditation. Read more to determine if a group is eligible for NAEYC Accreditation.
- For programs with hourly care or drop-in care groups in which the total number of children enrolled in the group exceeds the maximum licensing capacity of the group, only the maximum licensing capacity of the group is counted.
- If the total number of children enrolled at the program decreases significantly for a defined period of time (for example, Summer enrollment), the program calculates its accreditation fee based on the number of children of eligible age that are typically enrolled in the program throughout the majority of the school year.
- For programs with satellite locations, the total number of children enrolled in the program is the sum total of all children enrolled in the primary site and each satellite site.
Q4: What is the definition of a group?
Clarification on Groups in the TORCH Resource Library provides the definition of groups and specific information to assist programs as they establish groups during Self-Study, report on groups in the Application and in Candidacy Materials, and prepare all groups to meet the 10 Standards during the site visit.
Q5: Can a program exclude any groups from its NAEYC Accreditation?
A program must include all eligible groups it serves every day it is in operation throughout all hours of operation. This includes groups within the program that operate during the summer and after-school care groups.
A group can ONLY be excluded from a program’s NAEYC Accreditation for one or both of the following reasons:
- The group is focused on parenting education and all parents remain with their children at all times (for example, Mommy and Me groups)
- The group demonstrates that it is a part of a separate program with a separate public identity that operates within the same facility.
Q6: How can my program demonstrate that it is separate from another program that operates within the same facility?
When multiple programs operate within the same facility, one program can demonstrate a separate public identity from a second program by documenting a separate budget, administration, license and/or other criteria. Strong consideration of a parent’s perspective and understanding of the identity will be taken under advisement when determining if a program is truly separate from another.
Please note the following examples of separate programs:
- A Head Start program and a public school program operate within the same building. The Head Start has a separate budget, name, and administration than the public school program.
- A program operates on a school year calendar from September to June. During the months when this program is closed, a separate summer camp program is offered at the same facility. The summer camp program is marketed to parents under a different name and is run by a different administration.
- A program operates from 8am until 3pm. After this program closes, an after-school care program operates in the same facility from 3pm-6pm. The after-school care program is run by a different organization that rents the facility from the main program.