Step: 2 Apply and Conduct Self-Assessment
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After completing self-study, programs officially begin the NAEYC Accreditation process by submitting an application to demonstrate compliance with eligibility requirements. Building on the reflective work of self-study, programs begin a formal, improvement-focused self-assessment that involves compiling specific sources of evidence to demonstrate how a program meets each of the program standards. Evidence includes portfolio evidence and observable evidence.
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.
- 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.
- Serving children between the ages of 0-8 (infants, toddler/twos, preschoolers, kindergartners and/or before and after school care).
- Be located in the United States or its territories, unless affiliated with the United States Department of Defense schools and child development centers/programs.
- Be regulated by the appropriate licensing/regulatory body.
- Be willing to meet and demonstrate they consistently meet each of the NAEYC Early Learning Program Standards and Assessment Items.
Tasks for Programs
This is the formal entry into the NAEYC Accreditation process. Compile evidence of how your program meets the program standards using the self-assessment materials to prepare for candidacy.
- Complete and submit the application
- Select a due date for submission of the streamlined candidacy materials
- Review the Tips for Improving Portfiolio Evidence
- Review the staff educational qualifications
- Document evidence that all standards are met by completing a formal self-assessment
- Prepare to meet all site visit requirements
Application Complete: Programs will receive notification confirming the selected candidacy due date.
Application Incomplete: Programs will receive notification that additional information or payment is needed.
Application Withdrawn: Programs will receive notification that they failed to meet eligibility requirements and/or additional information was not received by the due date.
Programs have the option to withdraw from the accreditation process at any time. Complete and submit the withdrawal form if your program chooses to officially withdraw. For more information on withdrawal, please visit our frequently asked questions.
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.