Step 3: Candidacy
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When a program submits candidacy materials, the materials are reviewed by NAEYC to determine the program's readiness for a site visit. Programs will demonstrate key components of high-quality programming and preparedness for the site visit. Programs that successfully complete this step are considered candidates for NAEYC Accreditation and can expect a site visit within six months of the candidacy due date.
- Maintain good standing in its licensing or regulatory status in the past year or since the last inspection
- Demonstrate the collaborative process used, while completing the self-assessment, to actively engage the program administrator, teaching staff, families, and the program’s governing body (when appropriate).
- Document satisfactory performance on at least 80 percent of the 10 NAEYC Early Learning Program Standards and Assessment Items.
Tasks for Programs:
Demonstrate key components of high-quality programming and preparedness for a site visit by submitting candidacy materials to NAEYC.
- Complete the candidacy materials
- Organize documentation according to the four sources of evidence:
- Program portfolio
- Program observation
- Class portfolio
- Class observation
- Continue to gather evidence of performance and make improvements using the self-assessment materials
Programs receive a candidacy decision from NAEYC Accreditation of Early Learning Programs within six months of the candidacy due date.
- Candidacy Approved: Programs will receive notification that all documentation have been submitted and no further information is needed.
- Candidacy Deferred: Programs must submit an option form by an established due date. They will be offered the following options:
- Continue toward NAEYC Accreditation by resubmitting a new application and fee
- Appeal the candidacy decision by moving forward with the formal appeal process
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 withdrawals, 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.