NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards
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NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation System Standards
NAEYC's higher education accreditation system accredits early childhood degree programs preparing individuals for beginning career roles as early childhood educators. The system currently uses the initial standards from NAEYC's 2010 Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs. The Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs currently uses these standards as the basis for the accreditation of associate, baccalaureate and initial-license master's degree programs. The Commission does not accredit early childhood degree programs preparing individuals for advanced practitioner roles at this time. For a quick overview of the 2010 standards, see this summary.
Draft Revised Higher Education Accreditation Standards
In 2020, following the release of the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators and the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession, the Commission began the process of revising NAEYC’s higher education accreditation standards both to reflect developments in the early childhood education profession and as a routine and healthy practice for an accrediting body. The Commission appointed a workgroup – comprised of stakeholders across the early childhood education profession – to lead this effort. Over the course of several months, the Standards Workgroup and Commission considered the strengths and challenges of the current accreditation standards, gathered feedback from the accreditation community, and considered the needs and guidelines of the early childhood education profession. The Commission is pleased to release a draft of the revised accreditation standards. These standards define expectations for what early childhood education professional preparation programs must do in order to achieve accreditation—with a focus on how preparation programs will know that graduates are meeting the Professional Standards and Competencies, as well as the supports programs provide to aid candidate success.
The period for public comment on the draft revised standards has now closed and the Commission is continuing to revise the draft based on the feedback received. Please stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, there are a few ways to learn more about the draft revised accreditation standards:
- Review the draft standards document.
- Review a summary of the results from the 360° survey the Commission conducted in 2020 to gather insights on programs’ experiences in the accreditation system and perspectives on the current accreditation standards (NAEYC’s 2010 Professional Preparation Standards).
- Click here to access the slides from the webinar NAEYC held on February 3 to provide an overview of the standards.
- Review these Frequently-Asked Questions and Answers about the draft standards
The Commission extends deepest appreciation for the Standards Workgroup’s contributions to this draft, for the faculty who participated in the 360° survey, and for the hundreds of programs and faculty who are part of the accreditation system.
Please direct questions to Mary Harrill, Senior Director, Higher Education Accreditation and Program Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the 2010 NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards
The 2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs are available as a PDF document. Programs currently pursuing or maintaining higher education accreditation should use the initial standards (found on p.29-43) to fully inform their accreditation work. In addition, programs may find the rubrics describing program performance expectations in relation to the standards (p.72-100) helpful in preparing their accreditation materials.
Review the Draft Revised NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Standards
To reflect developments in the early childhood education profession and as a routine and healthy practice for an accrediting body, the NAEYC higher education accreditation standards are in the process of being revised. The Commission and Standards Workgroup are currently continuing to revise the standards to incorporate feedback from prior public comment on this draft. Stay tuned for further updates. Please note: Programs currently pursuing or maintaining accreditation should continue to use the 2010 standards (see other blue box) until further notice.