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- General Information
- Step 1: Enroll
- Step 2: Apply
- Step 3: Candidacy
- Step 4: Meeting the Standards
- Extenuating Circumstances
- Annual Reports
- Additional Verification
- Random Visits
- Renewal Materials
- Annual Accreditation Fees
- Streamlined Accreditation Model
How can my program demonstrate that it is separate from another program that operates within the same facility?
NAEYC Accreditation is granted to the overall learning center and will not be granted to individual classes or age groups within a center. Throughout the NAEYC Accreditation process, all eligible classes a center serves must be reported and may be observed during a site visit. This includes classes within the center that operate during the summer and school-age programs.
- A class can only be excluded from a center's NAEYC Accreditation only if it is part of a separate program. A center pursuing NAEYC Accreditation must notify NAEYC of all separate programs that operate within its facility. If a center wants to exclude a program, it must be able to demonstrate a separate budget, administration, and license.
How long does the NAEYC Accreditation process take?
The NAEYC Accreditation process varies depending on the individual program. Step 1: Enroll is self-paced and self-directed. The amount of time spent in this step depends on an individual program and how it structures the accreditation process. For specific accreditation due dates and submission cycles, refer to timelines for pursuing accreditation.
Are there fees associated with NAEYC Accreditation?
Yes. Fees vary by program size and are paid at Step 1: Enroll; Step 2: Apply; and Step 3: Candidacy. Accredited programs are required to pay an annual accreditation fee at the end of each year to maintain their accreditation. The fees are spread out over the entire accreditation process so that programs can build costs into their annual budgets.
For more information on how programs can calculate their fees, click here.
What is the definition of a class?
A class is defined as a set of children that is assigned to a specific teacher or team of teaching staff.
Can a program exclude any classes from its NAEYC Accreditation?
A program must include all eligible classes it serves every day throughout all hours of operation. This includes classes in the program that operate during the summer and after-school care classes. A class can ONLY be excluded from a program’s NAEYC Accreditation for the following reasons:
• The class operates under a separate budget, administration, and license
• The class is focused on parenting education and all parents remain with their children at all times (for example, Mommy and Me classes).
If a program is exempt from state licensing, does the program have to be licensed to pursue NAEYC Accreditation?
The eligibility requirements state that programs must be regulated by the appropriate licensing/regulatory body.
Does a program with satellite locations need to prepare more than one program portfolio?
No. A program with satellite locations should prepare a single program portfolio for the overall program. The program portfolio must be a comprehensive representation of all satellite locations included in the program’s NAEYC Accreditation.
Note that if a program has classes located in satellite locations, each satellite location must meet the satellite location requirements. Read Below:
Primary site” is defined as the principal location of the program. This address will be listed as the program’s site address in the program record and will be the only address reflected as such on public information regarding the program, including the Accredited Program Search and NAEYC Accreditation Certificate.
“Satellite location” is defined as an additional geographic location to the primary site that houses one or more of the program’s groups of children and all satellite requirements defined below:
- The primary site can have no more than 2 satellite locations; all locations are within a 5 mile radius of the primary location.
- Each satellite location serves fewer than 60 children.
- Each satellite location must have the same program administration, budget, and public identity as the primary site.
A satellite location is included in the scope of the program’s accreditation and children enrolled are included in the total enrollment count. At least one class housed at each of the satellite locations will be selected for an observation during an NAEYC Accreditation site visit, verification visit, or unannounced visit. The data collected from these classes will contribute to the overall NAEYC Accreditation decision and all satellite locations must meet and maintain all NAEYC Accreditation requirements. Failure of one or more satellite locations within a program to meet or maintain the accreditation requirements may adversely impact that entire program’s accreditation review and status.
What will be accepted as current evidence in the program portfolio and classroom portfolios?
Portfolio evidence is up-to-date if it reflects a policy, practice, or document that is currently in effect or has been documented within 12 months of the program’s candidacy or renewal materials due date. Portfolio evidence may be older than 12 months and still reflect a current policy, practice, or document that is in effect. Please note the following examples:
- An excerpt from a parent handbook that was published more than 12 months prior to the program’s candidacy or renewal materials due date may be used as evidence in the program portfolio if the policies are currently followed by the program.
- A photograph of a child planting a garden that was taken more than 12 months prior to the program’s candidacy or renewal materials due date may be used as photographic evidence in the classroom portfolio if the class plants a garden each spring as a part of its curriculum.
Can multiple classes create one shared classroom portfolio?
Yes. The classroom portfolio must be a current and authentic representation of how criteria are met by the class to which it applies. View streamlining classroom portfolios for more information.
How can a program demonstrate compliance with a criterion if evidence of how the program meets the criterion is stored off-site or is confidential in nature and therefore unavailable to an NAEYC assessor?
If evidence is stored off-site or contains confidential information that cannot be viewed by assessors, a notarized letter must be provided. The notarized letter must:
- Be prepared by the authorized agency or individual responsible for the documentation. Clearly identify the criterion that the notarized letter addresses
- Verify the existence and location of the document(s)
- Include a blank copy of the form used or one in which any identifying information has been marked out.
I had an incident that relates to required criteria; do I need to report this information to NAEYC?
All currently accredited programs are required to report incidents that relate to potential violations of required criteria within 72 hours . View the 72 hour notification policy.
How long is a program’s enrollment valid?
Programs that have enrolled will remain enrolled for two years. After two year, a program must submit an enrollment maintenance form and fee to remain in enrollment for an additional year. All enrolled programs are responsible for staying informed of any changes to the system via the Program News.
Can a program skip enrollment and move directly to Step 2: Apply?
No. All programs seeking initial accreditation must complete Step 1: Enroll before submitting an application for Step 2. Programs that have not completed Step 1: Enroll may not move on to Step 2: Apply.
Can a program submit an enrollment and an application at the same time?
Yes. A program can submit enrollment and application at the same time. While it is not recommended, this option is available for programs pursuing initial accreditation on an accelerated timeframe. Programs should review the accreditation materials before committing to a candidacy due date upon submission of the application.
How does NAEYC recommend programs approach self-study?
To complete a meaningful and productive self-study, NAEYC recommends that a program informally evaluate itself according to the NAEYC Early Learning Program Standards and Criteria. NAEYC recommends that the program then identify and implement any program improvements necessary to align the program with the 10 program standards.
How does NAEYC recommend programs approach self-assessment?
Self-assessment is structured to help your programs meet the unique goals identified in the NAEYC Accreditation process. Programs should use the accreditation materials to prepare for Step 3: Candidacy and Step 4: Meeting the Standards. These resources guide programs in the development of the five sources of evidence, including a program portfolio, class portfolios, family surveys, teaching staff surveys, and observable criteria.
Some programs choose to move through step 1 and step 2 simultaneously in order complete the NAEYC Accreditation process on an accelerated timetable. This can be achieved if programs submit enrollment and application at the same time.
When must a program's self-assessment be complete?
The candidacy materials require programs to report on the evidence that is compiled from step 1 and step 2. Programs should complete the entire self-assessment in order to be prepared to complete the candidacy materials. Once the candidacy materials are submitted, programs can continue to refine the evidence that was collected during self-assessment in preparation for a site visit.
How long after they have been conducted are teaching staff and family surveys valid?
Teaching staff surveys and family surveys must be conducted within 12 months of a program’s candidacy materials or renewal materials due date.
Can teaching staff surveys and family surveys be conducted multiple times?
Yes. There is no limit to the number of times the teaching staff surveys and family surveys may be conducted. Programs should report the results of the most recently conducted surveys in the candidacy and renewal materials. The program should provide the results of the most recently conducted surveys to an NAEYC assessor before or during the site visit.
What percentage of the teaching staff and family surveys must be returned for the results to be valid?
Programs must receive at least 80 percent of all teaching staff surveys distributed and 50 percent of all family surveys distributed for the results to be valid.
How does NAEYC determine whether a criterion has been met based on the results of the teaching staff surveys and family surveys?
At least 75 percent of the responses to all questions related to a particular criterion must be positive in order for the criterion to be met. Yes answers are considered positive responses. A failure to respond, no, or don’t Know responses are considered negative responses. Not Applicable responses are not counted in the calculation of the overall score.
The survey results spreadsheets include two worksheets. The first is labeled Overall Responses and should be used to enter raw data from the surveys. The second is labeled Scores for Criteria and automatically calculates scores for all criteria based on the raw data from the Overall Responses worksheet. A score of at least 75 percent on the “Scores for Criteria” worksheet indicates that the criterion is met
How can a program access the candidacy materials?
Candidacy materials will be available 8 weeks prior to the candidacy due date within the program record.
What happens if a program does not submit its candidacy materials and/or fee by the candidacy due date?
Programs have the option to submit candidacy materials up to one calendar month late with a late fee. If a program does not submit the materials the program will be withdrawn as an applicant of NAEYC Accreditation process. The program will have to submit a new application to continue on with the accreditation process. The application fee is nonrefundable. If a program exits from the accreditation process, the program will remain in enrolled status for one year. After that year, the program is required to submit the enrollment maintenance fee and form to retain its status as a program enrolled in NAEYC Accreditation. If the program wants to move forward in the process, it must submit a new application (Step 2), pay a new application fee, and select a new candidacy due date.
What type of coursework is accepted from programs working to meet staff qualifications under candidacy requirements?
NAEYC requires that all transcripts used to demonstrate staff qualifications either be from an accredited institution of higher education listed on the U.S. Department of Education website or be accompanied by an evaluation and verification of U.S. equivalencies.
Are staff’s international degrees accepted from programs working to meet candidacy requirements?
International degrees must be verified through a process matching them to U.S .equivalent degrees. Verification can be obtained through a company that specializes in this area or through an accredited institution of higher education listed on the U.S. Department of Education website. The company will provide an official report that can be submitted to NAEYC as documentation. The U.S. institution of higher education will provide documentation if the international degree is determined to be equivalent to a degree offered at a U.S. institution.
Both NAEYC and the U.S. Department of Education do NOT recommend or endorse any individual credential evaluation service or group of services. However, the U.S. Department of Education website below can be used as a resource to assist programs pursuing accreditation in locating potential evaluators. www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html
Would documentation of a staff member’s expired CDA be accepted from programs working to meet the candidacy requirements?
No. A current CDA is required to meet the candidacy requirements for teaching staff qualifications. Please contact the Council for Professional Recognition for further information.
Does NAEYC accept equivalents to the CDA or equivalents to college degrees from programs working to meet the candidacy requirements?
NAEYC defines a CDA equivalent, and an equivalent to an associate degree and a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education or a related field. Read more about NAEYC-defined equivalent degrees. Documentation of how a program meets defined CDA and degree equivalents must be one of the following:
Transcripts that either indicate appropriate coursework earned from an accredited institution of higher education listed on the U.S. Department of Education website or are accompanied by an evaluation and verification of U.S. equivalencies
Articulation agreement from an accredited institution of higher education listed on the U.S. Department of Education website. An articulation agreement is defined as an agreement between an institution of higher education and a training provider. This agreement must verify that training given by the training provider is equivalent to an established number of college credits granted at the institution.
Must a program with a small teaching staff demonstrate that 75% of teachers and 50% of assistant teachers/teacher aides meet candidacy requirements?
Yes. All programs must demonstrate that 75% of teachers and 50% of assistant teachers/teacher aides meet candidacy requirements. NAEYC does not round up when determining the percentage of teaching staff that meet candidacy requirements. For example, a program with only three teachers must demonstrate that all teachers meet candidacy requirements because if only two teachers meet them, the percentage of teachers meeting would be 66.66%, which is below 75%.
What type of documentation is required for teaching staff who are working toward the CDA credential or toward associate or baccalaureate degree?
To demonstrate that a teaching staff member is working toward a National CDA or degree, a program must document that the teaching staff member meets all of the following conditions:
- The teaching staff member is currently enrolled in a course or degree program
- The teaching staff member has been enrolled within one year prior to the program’s candidacy due date
- The teaching staff member will be enrolled within one year after the program’s candidacy due date
Documentation can include any of the following, dated up to one year prior to the program’s candidacy due date:
Copies of an application for ________
- Grade report
- Letter from an advisor
- Copy of a course description from a course catalog that the individual will enroll
- Flyer for a CDA preparation course that the individual will enroll
- Receipt of tuition payment
- Military training module
Documentation can not solely be a letter from the program seeking candidacy or the individual staff member stating intent to work towards a degree.
For the position of designated program administrator, what is acceptable work experience to meet the alternative pathways to achieve educational qualifications.
Years of experience in a position that includes responsibilities in both program management and early childhood may be counted as program administrator experience. This typically includes experience as an assistant program administrator or program coordinator, but does not typically include experience as a family childcare provider.
Can individuals working to meet the alternative pathways to achieve educational qualifications of the designated program administrator submit the same course for both formal education and relevant training and credentials?
No. Coursework submitted for the formal education column may not also be submitted for the relevant training and credentials column.
Does NAEYC evaluate the qualifications of administrative support staff such as assistant directors?
No. NAEYC only evaluates the qualifications of one designated program administrator.
How is a program notified of the timing of its site visit?
When a program is approved as a candidate for renewal, it is assigned an NAEYC assessor(s). All NAEYC assessors follow the pre-visit protocol when scheduling and notifying the program of its site visit.
What happens during the site visit?
An NAEYC assessor evaluates all required criteria, always assessed criteria, emerging practice criteria, and a subset of randomly assessed criteria with each standard during the site visit. All NAEYC assessors follow the site visit protocol during site visits.
Must all indicators in a criterion be met in all sources of evidence for a program to meet the criterion during the site visit?
For each criterion that is assessed during the site visit, NAEYC assessor(s) will evaluate the entire criterion, including all indicators, in each identified source of evidence. Not all indicators must be assessed as “met” in all sources in order for the criterion to be met. The NAEYC scores the data that NAEYC assessors collect during the site visit to determine if criteria are met or not met.
When is a program ineligible for a site visit?
A program is ineligible for a site visit ONLY on established exclusion dates and non operational days in which an NAEYC assessor cannot observe each of the following eligible classes that the program serves:
- Infant: birth to 15 months
- Toddler/two: 12-36 months
- Preschool: 30 months-5 years
- Kindergarten: enrolled in a public or private kindergarten
Programs that alter their operation during established times of the year, such as an altered summer session, must be prepared for a site visit if at least one class of each eligible age group that the program serve is in session.
Are all classes eligible for observation during a site visit, even if they were recently added to the program?
Yes. All classes, regardless of the amount of time they have been in operation, will be assessed and should be prepared for a classroom observation and classroom portfolio review during the site visit. Newly formed classes may include evidence prepared for another class portfolio if the evidence represents a policy or practice that will be adopted in the new class within 12 months of the program’s candidacy or renewal due date. Read more about streamlining classroom portfolios.
NAEYC assessors will use the following guidelines to determine which class and how many classes are observed during a site visit.
- At least 50% of the total number of classes in the program must be observed.
- At least one class from each eligible age category the program serves (infant, toddler/two, preschool, kindergarten) must be observed.
- For programs with satellite locations, at least one class from each satellite location must be observed.
Random selection determines the specific classes that are observed within each age category. Read more in the pre visit protocols and site visit protocols.
What happens if the NAEYC assessor marks a required criterion “not met” during the site visit?
If an NAEYC assessor marks a required criterion as “not met,” the site visit will continue to completion unless a child is in immediate risk for harm or abuse. During the closing meeting, the NAEYC assessor will present the program with the Required Criteria Site Visit Documentation form which notifies the program of the possible violation of a required criterion. The administrator has the opportunity to provide additional information on the Required Criteria Site Visit Documentation form or as part of the Administrator Evaluation of the Site Visit.” NAEYC will review the information provided on the Required Criteria form during the scoring process and contact the program if further information is needed.
It is NOT uncommon for assessors to complete a Required Criteria form and NOT all programs that are presented with a Required Criteria Form are denied accreditation. The required criteria are assessed in multiple sources of evidence, and assessors are instructed to complete the form if there is any question as to whether or not a required criterion is met.
How many children must be present in a class in order for an NAEYC Assessor to complete an observation?
There is no minimum number of children that must be present for a class to be observed. The selection of classes that receive classroom observations during the site visit is entirely based on randomization.
Will criteria that are not applicable to a program be marked as not met?
Most criteria apply to all programs that serve the age category or categories to which they apply. Please call NAEYC for any criterion that you feel is not applicable to your program. If it is determined that a criterion or indicator is not applicable to your program, it will neither help nor hurt the program when determining whether the standard or criterion is met.
When a program has submitted candidacy materials and wants to withdraw from the accreditation process, what is the procedure?
The program must submit the withdrawal form to formally withdraw the candidacy materials. When a program exits from the accreditation process, the program will remain in enrolled status for one year. After that year, the program is required to submit the enrollment maintenance fee and form to retain its status as a program enrolled in NAEYC Accreditation. If the program wants to move forward in the process, it must submit a new application (Step 2), pay a new application fee, and select a new candidacy due date.
When a program has been accepted as a candidate (Step 3) and is awaiting a site visit, but doesn’t want the visit to occur, what should the program do?
If a program is currently serving children and has received notification of a 15-day window in which the site visit will occur the program has two options:
- The program can submit the site visit postponement form and applicable fee. The site visit postponement form and fee will postpone the scheduling of a site visit for up to one calendar month. Postponement request will not be accepted after the program has received a business day prior call. In order to stop the site visit after a program receives the business day prior call, the program must withdraw from the process. If the scheduling of a site visit is postponed, NAEYC is no longer bound to provide a site visit within six months of the candidacy due date.
- The program can submit the withdrawal form to cancel the site visit and formally withdraw from the accreditation process. If a program exits from the accreditation process, the program will keeps its enrolled status for one year. After that year, the program is required to submit the enrollment maintenance fee and form to retain its status as a program enrolled in NAEYC Accreditation. If the program wants to move forward in the process, it must submit a new application (Step 2), pay a new application fee, and select a new candidacy due date.
When a program has submitted renewal materials and wants to withdraw from the accreditation process, what is the procedure?
The program must submit the withdrawal form to formally withdraw the renewal materials. NAEYC Accreditation will expire at the end of the program’s current term of NAEYC Accreditation, as noted on the NAEYC Accreditation certificate.
If the program would like to pursue a new term of NAEYC Accreditation through the renewal process, it must submit a new application (step 2). If a program does not submit a application within one year of its valid until date, it must successfully complete the Four Step NAEYC Accreditation process for programs pursuing initial accreditation to regain its status as an NAEYC Accredited program.
If a program’s renewal materials were approved and the program is awaiting a site visit for renewal but wishes to postpone the site visit, what is the procedure?
A program that is currently serving children, and has received notification of a 15-day window in which the site visit will occur, may submit the site visit postponement form in order to postpone the scheduling of the site visit for up to one calendar month. The postponement request will not be accepted after the program has received a business day prior call.
In order to stop the site visit after a program receives the business day prior call, the program must withdraw from the process. Programs postponing the site visit will be assessed a postponement fee that must be paid prior to stopping the site visit. When the scheduling of a site visit is postponed, the program’s accreditation status may expire. In this case NAEYC is no longer bound to provide a site visit within six months of the renewal materials due date.
Will programs receive reminders that their annual reports are due?
Yes. NAEYC sends annual report reminder notifications via email to the primary and secondary contacts listed for a program 30 days before the annual report is due. If the annual report is not received into NAEYC’s system, a reminder notification will be sent 15 days after the annual report due date. The processing time may take up to four weeks after the program submits the annual report. If a program receives an annual report reminder notification after it has submitted its annual report, the annual report is most likely still being processed.
What happens if NAEYC does not receive a program’s annual report?
Programs have the option to submit the annual report up to one calendar month late, with a late fee. If a program does not submit the annual report, its accreditation status will be revoked. The annual accreditation fee is non refundable. It is the program’s responsibility to verify that NAEYC successfully receives the annual report.
Is a program contacted if its annual report is incomplete?
Yes. However, programs should make every effort to include all requested information in the annual report. If additional information is needed to make a decision regarding a program’s annual report, NAEYC staff will contact the program and provide it with a defined period of time in which additional information must be submitted.
Must currently accredited programs maintain their classroom portfolios and program portfolio throughout their five-year accreditation term?
Yes. NAEYC expects all accredited programs to maintain their portfolios as they actively engage in program improvements throughout the five-year accreditation term. Please note that portfolios are only evaluated during a site visit for initial accreditation or renewal and not evaluated during a verification visit or a random visit.
What happens if a program refuses to allow an NAEYC Assessor to conduct a verification visit?
By earning NAEYC Accreditation, a program agrees to comply with NAEYC Accreditation policies and procedures. By refusing a verification visit, the program negates this agreement and the program's accreditation will be revoked.
Will my program be notified of a verification visit?
Yes. All programs that are due to receive a verification visit will be notified from NAEYC via email. An option form will need to be returned in order to begin the scheduling of your verification visit. The site visit window will be active for 6 months after the option form due date. Your program will receive a 15 day window from your assigned NAEYC assessor and a business day prior call.
What happens if a program refuses to allow a NAEYC Assessor to conduct a random visit?
By earning NAEYC Accreditation, a program agrees to comply with NAEYC Accreditation policies and procedures. By refusing a random visit, the program negates this agreement and the program's accreditation will be revoked.
What if a program has security policies that do not allow an NAEYC Assessor to enter a site without advanced notice?
Programs that require a security clearance to allow an NAEYC assessor entry into the program must include contact information for a designated authority outside the program in the candidacy materials, renewal materials, and the annual report. NAEYC assessor(s) will work closely with this designated authority to ensure the safety and security of all individuals at the program.
What happens during the random visit?
An NAEYC assessor will conduct evaluation of only observable criteria during the random visit. Programs do not have to prepare classroom portfolio evidence, program portfolio evidence, teaching staff surveys, or family surveys during the random visit.
How can a program access the renewal materials?
Renewal materials will be located within the program record beginning March 1, 2018. If you need the materials prior to this date, you can locate them on the NAEYC website.
When will a program receive its renewal decision?
The renewal decision will occur within six months of a program’s renewal due date. Renewal materials are reviewed on a rolling basis, so some programs may receive renewal decisions earlier in the six-month window while others may receive their renewal decision later.
NAEYC is committed to providing a site visit to all programs that are accepted as renewals within the same six-month window following the renewal due date. Therefore, all renewal decisions will be made with ample time left in the six-month window to schedule and conduct a site visit.
Effective May 1, 2017: programs has the option to submit renewal materials in the late submission window. Programs that submit renewal materials in the late submission window, will a site visit within 6 months following the renewal approval date. Your program may lapse in its accreditation.
What happens if a program does not submit its renewal materials and/or fee by the renewal due date?
Programs have the option to submit renewal materials up to one calendar month late accompanied by a late fee. If a program does not submit the renewal materials, the program will remain accredited through their current accreditation term. Once expired, the program will have one year to submit a new application (Step 2) to continue with the accreditation process. After your program is accepted as an applicant, you will be required to complete a new set of candidacy materials (Step 3). Applicable fees must accompany the submission of the application and candidacy materials.
A fifth year accreditation fee will be due on the anniversary date to close out its current term of NAEYC Accreditation. The program accreditation status will expire once the “valid until” date is reached.
What is an annual accreditation fee?
The annual accreditation fee is a fee that is paid yearly by all programs. This fee is paid at the end of the first year anniversary, second year anniversary, third year anniversary, fourth year anniversary, and fifth year anniversary. All programs must pay five annual accreditation fees during the five year term of NAEYC Accreditation.
Do all program need to pay an annual accreditation fee?
- Yes. Currently accredited programs are required to pay an annual accreditation fee at the end of each year to maintain their accreditation. A program’s fifth annual accreditation fee is due on or before its “valid until” date in order to complete the five-year accreditation term.
How many annual accreditation fees will a program submit during their 5 year term of accreditation?
All currently accredited programs are required to pay five annual accreditation fees during the 5-year term of accreditation. The fees are due at the end of each year of accreditation.The fees are spread out over the entire accreditation process so that a program can build the costs into its annual budgets.
NAEYC Accreditation of Early Learning Programs is committed to providing a seamless process as your program demonstrates meeting the NAEYC Accreditation Program Standards through a program portfolio. Recently, HMH Portfolios announced that they will be retiring their digital portfolio program. NAEYC will continue to accept HMH digital portfolio formats throughout this transition process.
We are in the middle of completing our portfolios online using HMH digital portfolio system. What will this change mean to our online portfolio work?
Customers with active HMH portfolio subscriptions will continue to have access to all features and functionality, and will receive support from HMH through the entirety of the retirement process phase out. NAEYC will still accept HMH digital portfolios, or your program can choose to export your data and no longer use the HMH platform.
Will we be able to export our current portfolios so we do not lose all of our work?
Customers with active HMH portfolio subscriptions will continue to have access to all features and functionality, and will receive support from HMH through the entirety of the retirement process. You may contact HMH directly for assistance with exporting your portfolio.
Is another online portfolio available to NAEYC Accredited programs?
NAEYC does not endorse or license any digital portfolio programs at this time. NAEYC-accredited programs have the option to transition the digital data into "hard-copy" program and classroom portfolios for the assessment site visit.
Note: Programs may also construct their own digital portfolios; some do it yourself sources are: PowerPoint slides, Word documents, and Google Docs, that can be used to format and organize portfolios digitally (i.e. scanning hard copy evidence).
HMH portfolios have outdated/inconsistent criteria – will centers be risking their accreditation by using this product?
In using any external tool, NAEYC always recommends referencing our accreditation materials. For some tips and strategies for using commercial digital portfolios, click here.
My program is currently preparing for a site visit – what are our options for using HMH portfolios?
NAEYC will continue to accept digital HMH portfolios, as long as programs are reflecting the current NAEYC Accreditation criteria in their portfolios. The current NAEYC Accreditation criteria for portfolios can be found within our Self-Assessment Materials under “classroom/program portfolio tools”.
My program is currently using HMH Portfolio for things other than NAEYC Accreditation. What are my options?
NAEYC only supports the retirement process for programs using HMH portfolio for NAEYC Accreditation. Please contact HMH for support with additional areas.
Is there NAEYC support for transitioning through the retirement of HMH portfolios?
Yes. NAEYC offers customized technical assistance to programs engaged in the NAEYC Accreditation process. Submit a consultation request today to speak with your regional NAEYC support specialist.
I am part of a large system with shared policies and procedures. Does NAEYC offer a way to reduce preparation time for NAEYC site visits among programs that are part of a large system with shared policies and procedures?
Yes, NAEYC identifies Program Portfolio items for which system-level evidence is acceptable. If the system addresses those items on a system-wide basis, they submit the evidence to NAEYC and receive ratings for those items that are applied to all site visit evaluations of programs in their system. Determinations of compliance with NAEYC site visit assessment items are honored for one year, with annual reviews thereafter. To learn more about system wide portfolios click here. To apply for the System-Wide Program Portfolio Evidence Review please complete the application.
Why is NAEYC Accreditation revising and streamlining its Processes?
The cornerstone of the NAEYC Accreditation process is a drive for continuous quality improvement in early learning programs across the country. As an accreditation system, we too must be committed to our own continuous quality improvement to enhance our practice and build on our thirty-year experience. Feedback data from program records, early childhood educators, program administrators, coaches, assessors, state administrators, and other stakeholders, indicate a need for streamlining, increasing transparency, and adding aid options to help programs navigate the rigorous process with more clarity and support.
We are reducing the number of criteria indicators across the 10 Early Learning Standards by approximately 60%. While no criteria are eliminated altogether, by combining and clarifying, we will be able to significantly condense the indicators for precision.
By prioritizing indicators to reflect core competencies, we are improving transparency so programs can readily access the powerful subset of key indicators that will likely be assessed during the site visit. Programs will know in advance the most heavily weighted core competencies being evaluated.
When will the streamlined model be required for programs?
Programs who are applying or renewing in September 2017 and January 2018 will have the option to use the streamlined model. All programs applying or renewing in May 2018 and later will need to use the streamlined model for portfolio preparation and site visit assessment.
What are some of the biggest changes?
Each standard was re-written as a narrative and includes the site visit assessment items for that standard at the end of that standard. Therefore, programs will now only be assessed on roughly 40% of the current best practice indicators; the remaining best practices remain in the standards for self-study and self-assessment.
Except for items referencing your policies, assessment items no longer have multiple indicators; each assessment item addresses a single best practice. Every site visit assessment item is rated during every site visit; there are no more “randomly” assessed items. The Class Observation places more emphasis on teaching and relationship practice and less emphasis on materials and equipment. Class and Program Portfolios are much smaller than current portfolios, as the number of items assessed has been reduced by about 60%.
Where can I locate the streamlined tools?
The final standards and all tools/resources will be available on our website. Programs can also contact their Program Support Regional Contact and schedule a consultation to discuss any and all streamlined model questions.
How will the streamlined model impact my site visit observations?
NAEYC has developed streamlined resources, methods, and assessment tools for conducting accreditation site visits. The enhanced site visit tools include transparent assessment items which are aligned with our current standards, criteria and indicators. The tools are designed to elevate the NAEYC best practices most predictive of high quality programs, and to deemphasize basic practices that are often assessed by state child care licensing agencies. The program and classroom observations will have fewer items assessed, but the items relate to higher quality interactions and teaching practices.
How will the streamlined model impact my portfolios?
Class and Program Portfolios have less evidence based on the decrease in number of assessment items, therefore will be smaller. It is important for programs that are renewing to review the current evidence they have in the criteria of origin for each assessment item to ensure it is fully meeting all the components of the assessment items. Based upon the experience of programs participating in our pilots, you may find it easier to start from scratch with new evidence responses, rather than attempting to adapt your existing evidence.
Are the NAEYC 10 Standards of Accreditation changing?
For the most part, no. NAEYC’s 10 Early Learning Program Standards have not changed, and programs will continue to be held to the highest measure in their pursuit of accreditation. Standard 6 has been expanded and reconceptualized to include not only teacher qualifications and competencies, but also administrators, plus program supports and promotion of professional identity. Some new material in Standard 6 was relocated from other standards, so it is not really new.
How many assessment items are there?
375 Assessment Items
How many sources of evidence are there?
4 Sources of Evidence:
- Program Portfolio
- Program Observation
- Class Portfolios
- Class Observations
The use of Family and Teaching Staff Surveys is still being evaluated in the streamlined model. Programs are strongly encouraged to engage with families and teaching staff members on a consistent and regular basis as part of their continuous improvement process.
What are the Assessment Categories?
- Required Assessment Items
- Always Assessed Items
- Emerging Best Practice Items
There will no longer be randomly assessed items - all items prepared by a program will be assessed.
Can I still use the indexing method to organize my portfolio?
Because the streamlined model has eliminated redundancies in assessment items, each piece of evidence only applies to one item so there is no indexing tool at this time for the streamlined model. You may find there is not as much need for one. As always, programs have full autonomy over how their portfolios are organized as long as it is accessible to the assessor.
How will staff be assessed?
Assistant Teacher/Teacher Aide Educational Qualifications: To ensure core competencies, assistant teachers must have a minimum of a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential reflective of the age group of children they are supporting. Alternatively, assistant teachers can also have qualifications equivalent to a CDA, which is currently 12 college credits in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, and/or early childhood special education.
Teacher Educational Qualifications: To ensure core competencies, teachers must have a minimum of a higher education degree (any degree level) in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or early childhood special education. Degreed professionals entering the early childhood education profession from another industry must meet the equivalent minimum qualification, which is currently 60 college credits with 30 college credits in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, and/or early childhood special education. Given the variation in degree quality and the benefits of articulation, degrees and college credits from accredited higher education institutions and programs are encouraged.
Pedagogical Administrator Qualifications: The administrator responsible for providing pedagogical and instructional leadership (pedagogical administrator), like the teaching staff they lead and guide, should have specialized early childhood professional preparation. To ensure these competencies, he or she should have a minimum of a baccalaureate-level higher education degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or early childhood special education. Degreed professionals entering the early childhood profession from another industry should meet the equivalent minimum qualification, which is currently 120 college credits with 36 college credits in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, and/or early childhood special education.
Operational Administrator Qualifications: The administrator responsible for the business operations and viability of the program (operational administrator) should have a minimum of a baccalaureate-level higher education degree (any type) and business and program administrative competencies earned through 9 higher education credits. As an alternative to the 9 higher education credits in business and program administration, the operational administrator can have administrator credentials recognized by NAEYC or a principal credential issued by a state.
Why are there changes to Standard 6?
For most of the standards, the best practice content remains the same as it is now. However, we are making some changes to the practices in Standard 6 (Teachers). Some best practices have been moved to Standard 6 from other standards, and there are some new emerging best practices. The revised Standard 6 emphasizes the program’s role in supporting staff work life and continuing professional development.
The change to Standard 6 in the streamlined system is to focus not only on staff qualifications but to encompass program policies and procedures that support staff well-being, empowerment, and overall quality of work life, focus on how the program promotes and supports teaching and administrative staff to identify and be recognized as members of the early childhood education field, and to address professional staff’s openness to continual learning by adding to their knowledge and skills, especially with respect to core competencies.
What has changed with staff qualifications?
In the streamlined model, none of the staff member qualifications are required – this means that program administrator educational qualification is no longer a requirement for programs to meet. Also, there is an option to split the administrator qualifications into two roles -- pedagogical administrator and operational administrator -- that may be met by 2 different persons, or by one person.
There is no longer an “alternative pathway” or five year “plan in place” for the administrative positions, and no more “working towards” options on the qualification guides. This is to focus the qualifications NAEYC is assessing and to decrease the ambiguity around what is expected of programs and their staff while maintaining high quality expectations.
How will I pass Standard 6?
We are providing explicit staff qualification requirements in Standard 6 because research affirms that competencies gained through high-quality degree and credentialing programs are impactful and strengthen the case for improved compensation. However, we also know that recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a universal challenge and that there are other indicators that influence professional effectiveness, such as working conditions and ongoing support. In response, we will broaden our focus and collectively assess staff qualifications, working conditions, staff support, and professional development. Because the number of assessment items in standard 6 has been expanded, programs will have more flexibility to have items unmet and still pass at the 80% scoring for the standard.
Need help with accreditation?
Speak directly with NAEYC Early Learning Program staff about the NAEYC Accreditation process, educational qualifications, classes, and much more by contacting us at 1-800-424-2460, option 3.