NAEYC works with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) to review early childhood baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at colleges and universities. NAEYC peer reviewers evaluate program reports to determine whether programs meet the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards. If a program meets the standards and receives NAEYC Recognition, and if the institution goes on to be accredited by CAEP, the program earns a nationally known mark of high quality. Currently, there are over 250 institutions with NAEYC-recognized baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in 37 states/territories, and two international recognized programs.
Find Recognized Programs
NAEYC grants national recognition to early childhood professional preparation programs at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels that provide evidence of meeting the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards.
Learn more about NAEYC Recognition and NAEYC's relationship with CAEP, download tools, find out about upcoming workshops, access information on becoming an NAEYC Higher Education Peer Reviewer, and more.
Professional Preparation Standards
These standards describe what early childhood educators should know and be able to do, defining learning outcomes for professional preparation programs and presenting a shared vision of excellence.
Early Childhood Degree Directory
NAEYC is currently developing a national directory that highlights all available early childhood professional preparation programs in order to help students, policy makers, and researchers make informed choices.
NAEYC works with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) to review and grant national recognition to qualified early childhood baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at institutions of higher education. NAEYC Recognition centers on deep understanding and application of the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation Programs. Successful programs provide evidence of meeting each of the following standards: applied knowledge of child development and learning, work with families and communities, use of assessment and documentation, the practice of teaching and learning, content area knowledge, becoming an early childhood professional, and providing field experiences in a variety of settings with a variety of age groups.
Programs seeking NAEYC Recognition submit a report to CAEP that includes a set of 6–8 assessments aligned with the NAEYC standards. Each assessment must include student instructions, rubrics, and performance data. This report is reviewed by a team of NAEYC peer reviewers and auditors who do one of three things: make the recommendation for recognition, provide conditions that must be met in the first or second subsequent response-to-conditions report within 18 months in order for the program to remain nationally-recognized, or recommend that the program not receive recognition.
All baccalaureate and graduate degree programs submitted for NAEYC Recognition are designated as one of these three types.
Initial-licensure Programs. These programs provide degree candidates with a foundation in the early childhood field's standards, values, theory, and research. They include baccalaureate and masters degree programs that lead to a degree candidate's first license to teach in early childhood programs and classrooms.
Advanced Programs. These programs, for degree candidates who already have a license to teach in early childhood, extend and enhance candidates’ knowledge and application of early childhood practices. These programs may have a specialized focus, such as advocacy, administration, or mentoring. They include master's and doctoral programs.
- Blended Programs. These programs address both early childhood (NAEYC) standards and special education (Council for Exceptional Children) standards. They prepare teachers and other professionals to develop and work within inclusive settings that serve children with and without disabilities.
► It is important to determine your program type when you are planning to submit a report for recognition in order to ensure that you are using the correct standards and report template. Not sure if your program is initial or advanced? Use this chart to find out. To learn more about the difference between blended and non-blended programs, see How are Blended Program Reports Different from Other Program Reports?
Contact NAEYC Staff
If your program is interested in or actively pursuing/maintaining NAEYC Recognition, we encourage you to use NAEYC staff as a support resource at any time prior to or after submitting your program report. If you have any questions about the process, please contact us.
Resources from CAEP
For relevant CAEP accreditation policies, including data requirements and resources for working in AIMS (CAEP's accreditation management system), please visit the Program Review Options on the CAEP website.
Download Planning Tools
This action plan is designed to help programs determine where they are in the report and review process.
Use this matrix, which includes key elements of each of the 2010 standards, to determine whether your selected assessments have the capacity to fully address the standards.
Attend a Workshop
NAEYC offers full-day workshops for faculty compiling program reports prior to our Annual Conferences and our Professional Learning Institutes. These interactive workshops are an excellent opportunity to learn more about the report requirements, hear from experienced reviewers, see examples and get ideas about assessment systems and program improvement, and network with colleagues who are also pursuing national recognition.
NAEYC staff members also frequently participate in CAEPCon, a conference held by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Staff present on the NAEYC National Recognition process and are available for one-on-one discussions with program coordinators.