Overview of the Recognition Process
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Prior to 2020, NAEYC worked 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 centered on deep understanding and application of the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation Programs. If a program met the standards and received NAEYC Recognition, and if the institution went on to be accredited by CAEP, the program earned a nationally known mark of high quality.
Successful programs provided 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 submitted a report to CAEP that included a set of 6–8 assessments aligned with the NAEYC standards. Each assessment included student instructions, rubrics, and performance data.
This report was reviewed by a team of NAEYC peer reviewers and auditors who did 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.
Unlike the NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs system, the national recognition process was solely an electronic review of evidence. The national recognition process did not include a site visit by NAEYC. Interested in learning more about the differences between national recognition and NAEYC accreditation? Click here.
Types of Programs that were Eligible for NAEYC Recognition
All baccalaureate and graduate degree programs submitted for NAEYC Recognition were designated as one of these three types.
These programs provided degree candidates with a foundation in the early childhood field's standards, values, theory, and research. They included baccalaureate and masters degree programs that lead to a degree candidate's first license to teach in early childhood programs and classrooms.
These programs, for degree candidates who already have a license to teach in early childhood, extended and enhanced candidates’ knowledge and application of early childhood practices. These programs may have had a specialized focus, such as advocacy, administration, or mentoring. They included master's and doctoral programs.
These programs addressed both early childhood (NAEYC) standards and special education (Council for Exceptional Children) standards. They prepared teachers and other professionals to develop and work within inclusive settings that serve children with and without disabilities.