- Be center- or school-based. The program facility may not serve as the residence of any person associated with the program unless approved as a center or school by the program's licensing or regulatory body.
- Serve children from birth through kindergarten (infants, toddler/twos, preschoolers, and/or kindergarteners).
- Be located in the United States or its territories, unless affiliated with United States Department of Defense schools and child development centers/programs.
- Be in operation for at least one year prior to submitting Step 3: Candidacy.
- Be regulated by the appropriate licensing/regulatory body. See Additional Information on Licensing/Regulation below for more information about licensing/regulation.
- Be willing to meet each of the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards.
Programs must demonstrate that they meet all eligibility requirements in order to be accepted as an Applicant for NAEYC Accreditation. Eligibility requirements must be maintained throughout the NAEYC Accreditation process and the program’s five-year accreditation term.
- Programs that are not regulated by a public agency and are not legally prohibited from obtaining a state license must document that they have taken the steps to obtain a state license. It is not necessary for the licensing process to be completed by the state before the program is eligible to apply for NAEYC Accreditation.
Programs that are not regulated by a public agency and are legally prohibited from obtaining a state license must voluntarily comply with their state licensing requirements. The program must verify the following to demonstrate that they voluntarily comply with their state licensing requirements:
- The program administrator has reviewed the state’s licensing requirements.
- The board chair, president, or owner of the program has reviewed the state’s licensing requirements.
- The program is voluntarily in compliance with the state’s licensing requirements.
- Upon registration of children in the program, families are provided with a copy of the state’s licensing requirements and are informed that the program is voluntarily in compliance with the state’s licensing requirements.
- The program has documentation of fire and health inspections.
- The program has completed a criminal background check on all staff and has complied with state and federal law concerning background checks.
- The program employs no individual convicted of a crime involving sexual abuse, child abuse, or neglect.