The mission of the NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Program Accreditation System is to set a standard of excellence for associate degree early childhood programs and to recognize programs that have demonstrated to a peer review board that they meet this standard, thereby benefiting the early childhood profession, young children, families, and communities.
The NAEYC early childhood associate degree accreditation system will be one that:
- Is rigorous yet not unduly burdensome for programs and institutions—supporting excellence rather than taking time away from excellence
- Improves diverse and nontraditional students’ access to professional preparation programs
- Aligns with nationally recognized content standards
- Promotes articulation between 2 and 4-year institutions
- Links with state efforts in setting standards for programs and licensure of early childhood professionals
- Links with national and state efforts to support and reward early childhood educators for achieving higher levels of education
- Includes or links with training and technical assistance that gives programs information needed to conduct self-study and prepare for accreditation review
- Includes an evaluation and research component in the development and implementation of the system
- Results in benefits for programs and students regardless of the outcome of the accreditation decision
- Seeks input from ACCESS (American Associate Degree Early Childhood Educators) as the most credible and influential organization representing associate degree early childhood professional preparation
- Functions and is governed in a way that preserves the independence of the accreditation process and protects its founding organization from even the appearance of conflict of interest.