Summary of the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards
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The following are summaries only and should not be used as a sole resource for pursuing accreditation. The full 2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs document includes additional introductory statements, supporting explanations, and rubrics defining expectations. Please refer to the complete standards document to fully inform your program's pursuit of NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation. Currently, the accreditation system only accredits programs at the initial level (programs preparing candidates for their first early childhood degree). Thus, the accreditation system does not use the Advanced Standards at this time.
These 2010 Initial Standards are used in NAEYC Accreditation of associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree programs providing degree candidates with their first experience and/or credential in early childhood studies.
Download a printable version of the Initial Standards summary here.
INITIAL STANDARD 1. PROMOTING CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.
Key elements of Standard 1
- 1a: Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8.
- 1b: Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
- 1c: Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children
INITIAL STANDARD 2. BUILDING FAMILY AND COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.
Key elements of Standard 2
- 2a: Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
- 2b: Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships
- 2c: Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning
INITIAL STANDARD 3. OBSERVING, DOCUMENTING, AND ASSESSING TO SUPPORT YOUNG CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.
Key elements of Standard 3
- 3a: Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children
- 3b: Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection.
- 3c: Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including the use of assistive technology for children with disabilities.
- 3d: Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues to build effective learning environments
INITIAL STANDARD 4. USING DEVELOPMENTALLY EFFECTIVE APPROACHES
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.
Key elements of Standard 4
- 4a: Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
- 4b: Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
- 4c: Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching /learning approaches
- 4d: Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child
INITIAL STANDARD 5. USING CONTENT KNOWLEDGE TO BUILD MEANINGFUL CURRICULUM
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.
Key elements of Standard 5
- 5a: Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
- 5b: Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
- 5c: Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.
INITIAL STANDARD 6. BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members of the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.
Key elements of Standard 6
- 6a: Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
- 6b: Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
- 6c: Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource.
- 6d: Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education
- 6e: Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession
INITIAL STANDARD 7. EARLY CHILDHOOD FIELD EXPERIENCES
Field experiences and clinical practice are planned and sequenced so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood – in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
Key elements of Standard 7
- 7a. Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3-5, 5-8)
- 7b. Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the four main types of early education settings (early school grades, child care centers, family and home-based child care settings, and Head Start or equivalent programs)