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For Immediate Release:
December 1, 2004
Number of High-quality Preschool & Child Care Programs Continues to Grow
(Washington, D.C.) - The number of preschool, child care and other early childhood education programs earning accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has grown by nearly 15 percent in the past year, and more than tripled since 1993.
NAEYC Accreditation is a widely recognized sign of high quality in programs for young children. The number of NAEYC-accredited programs has expanded significantly since the system was created in 1985. Today there are 9,273 NAEYC-accredited programs, serving more than 800,000 young children and their families. In 2003 there were 8,069 early childhood programs accredited by NAEYC, and in 1993 there were 2,986.
"The continued growth in the number of early childhood programs earning NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that early childhood educators, as well as policy makers and funders, recognize that the national standards represented by NAEYC Accreditation help families to identify high-quality programs for their children," said Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D., Executive Director of NAEYC. "Early childhood educators, families, employers and many others now know that high-quality child care and preschool programs make a crucial and positive difference for young children."
NAEYC established accreditation to set professional standards for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality early childhood programs. The voluntary accreditation system is designed for programs for children from birth through five years, including child care centers, preschools, Head Start programs and kindergartens.
Programs seeking NAEYC accreditation are measured against national standards of quality that go well beyond state health and safety licensing requirements. The accreditation criteria address all aspects of an early childhood education program, including teacher qualifications and development, child-to-teacher ratios, curriculum, and health and safety. A program begins the accreditation process with an extensive self-study to determine how well it meets these criteria. After the program makes necessary improvements, it is observed by independent, professional validators, and then reviewed by a national panel. Early childhood programs that demonstrate substantial compliance with the NAEYC standards are accredited for a five-year period.
The substantial growth in the number of NAEYC-accredited programs also helped drive an effort to improve the NAEYC Accreditation system. In 2002, the National Commission on Accreditation Reinvention—which was appointed by the NAEYC Governing Board - made a series of recommendations to promote higher program quality and to increase the reliability and accountability of NAEYC Accreditation. Building on those recommendations, NAEYC and the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation are making extensive changes, which are improving the system for children, families, programs, employers, and all the other stakeholders who rely on it.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has nearly 90,000 members worldwide. The association is the largest and most influential advocate for early care and education in the
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Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.