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NAEYC and Accreditation

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization.

Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children with nearly 100,000 members, a national network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations. Membership is open to all individuals who share a desire to serve and act on behalf of the needs and rights of all young children.

For more than 80 years, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has worked to raise the quality of programs for all children from birth through age eight. A major part of NAEYC’s efforts to improve early childhood education is through different systems of accreditation for programs that are committed to meeting national standards of quality:

Accreditation of Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs

At the bachelor and graduate degree level, NAEYC works with NCATE (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) to review early childhood degree programs.  NAEYC-trained reviewers who are faculty in other early childhood programs evaluate program reports to determine whether a program meets NAEYC’s five standards of professional preparation.  If a program meets the standards and receives National Recognition, and if the institution goes on to be accredited by NCATE, the program has received a nationally known mark of quality.

In 2006, NAEYC launched the new Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation system. Programs that meet eligibility requirements can enroll in self-study. A team of three NAEYC trained early childhood faculty serve as peer reviewers who review the program report and conduct a three-day site visit. Programs that meet the five NAEYC standards of professional preparation receive accreditation. More than fifty programs are already accredited, with more than one hundred fifty enrolled in self-study and seeking this new mark of quality.

Presently, there are 183 accredited degree programs at 156 institutions in 30 states. More than 100 other degree programs in 33 states are currently engaged in self-study or awaiting an accreditation decision from the NAEYC Commission.

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