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National Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation
National Association for the Education of Young Children

  • Accreditation is the status given to an early childhood program reviewed by a national commission composed of recognized experts in child care and early childhood education. The program must be judged to be in substantial compliance with the NAEYC Academy criteria for high quality early childhood programs. Accreditation is granted for a five-year period.
  • An early childhood program child care center, preschool, kindergarten, or before and/or after-school program voluntarily applies for accreditation by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation.  The program then engages in an extensive self-study based on the Academy's criteria for high quality early childhood programs. The accuracy of the program's self-study is verified during a site visit to the program by volunteer validators. The validated self-study, including the program director's responses to the validation visit, is reviewed by a national commission.
  • NAEYC Accredited early childhood programs are committed to ongoing program evaluation and continuous improvement. They agree to act upon the commission's suggestions regarding areas needing improvement and to submit annual written reports documenting improvements and continued compliance.
  • NAEYC has created 10 standards that measure the quality of early childhood programs. The standards were created by a blue-ribbon panel of early childhood experts and are based on the latest early childhood research.
    • Promote positive relationships for all children and adults to encourage each child's sense of individual worth.
    • Implement a curriculum that fosters all areas of child development:  cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social.
    • Use developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate effective teaching approaches.
    • Provide ongoing assessments of a child's learning and development and communicate the child's progress to the family.
    • Promote the nutrition and health of children and protect children and staff from injury and illness.
    • Employ a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children's learning and development, and to support families' diverse needs and interests.
    • Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with each child's family.
    • Establish relationships with and use the resources of the community to support the achievement of program goals.
    • Provide a safe and healthy physical environment.
    • Implement strong personnel, fiscal, and program management policies so that all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.
National Association for the Education of Young Children.  (n.d.).  Information for Families.  Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

The James Madison University Young Children's Program has been continuously accredited by NAEYC since 1989. 
The current certificate is valid until January 1, 2018.