National Accreditation

National accreditation of a child care program is the highest endorsement of quality a program can receive.

National accreditation recognizes child care programs that provide the best learning experiences for young children and their education by meeting or exceeding national standards of quality.

Accreditation standards address many key child care components, including a safe and healthy environment, child care provider education and training, programming and activities planned according to the child’s developmental level.

There are numerous national accrediting bodies, which are listed for you here. Accreditation is strictly voluntary – that is, child care programs voluntarily apply for accreditation. The accreditation process typically includes a self-assessment, program action plan, parent and staff surveys, an assessment by an external validator and a renewal process. Programs must meet quality standards in all classrooms.

It is important to note that a child care license and a child care accreditation are not the same thing. A license is required to operate a child care program in the state. Accreditation is a voluntary designation of excellence for programs going above and beyond minimum standards.

While national accreditation is a great indicator of a child care program’s quality, remember that a program can exceed standards without ever applying for accreditation. It’s important to know what quality child care is and ask questions of child care programs you are considering to understand its quality.


National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) administers a voluntary, professionally sponsored accreditation system for all types of preschools, kindergartens and child care centers. The NAEYC accreditation program includes a self-assessment, program improvements, assessment by an external observer and a renewal process. Programs must meet early childhood program standards in all classrooms.

National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
The National Child Care Association developed the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) for licensed child care programs with a capacity of seven or more children. This voluntary program includes a self-assessment, program action plan, parent and staff survey, an assessment by an external validator and a renewal process. Programs must meet quality standards in all classrooms.

Association for Early Learning Leaders (AELL)
The Association for Early Learning Leaders administers an accreditation program for child care programs that have an enrollment of fifteen or more children and operate on a half or full-day basis. This voluntary program includes a self-study, an action plan, validation by an external observer, annual reports, and an optional faith-based component. Programs must meet quality standards in all classrooms.

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) administers an accreditation program for Christian schools, including early education programs within the schools. This voluntary program includes a self-study, team validation by peer review and annual reports. Programs must meet standards.

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) has established an accreditation program specifically for family child care homes. This voluntary program includes a self-study and observation by an external validator. Programs must meet quality standards.

National AfterSchool Association (NAA)
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has established an accreditation program specifically for after school programs. This voluntary program is now administered by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and includes program services, a self-study and observation by an external reviewer.

Also learn about state of Texas quality certification program, Texas Rising Star

 

You May Not Know That

In Harris County,
three-fourths of Children
in child care are in
unregulated care.

Families who found child care
through our QualiFind online
database and concierge services.

Families who were served by
Collaborative for Children's very
own everyday superheroes - our
parent engagement staff.