NAEYC stands for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and it is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children. Its mission is “to serve and act on behalf of the needs, rights and well-being of all young children with primary focus on the provision of educational and developmental services and resources”. NAEYC has 10 standards for early childhood programs, and to earn accreditation a preschool must meet all 10 standards. Based on research on the development and education of young children, the standards were created with input from experts and educators from around the country. The standards define what NAEYC believes all early childhood programs should provide:
Standard 1: Relationships
The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and fosters each child’s ability to contribute as a responsible community member.
Standard 2: Curriculum
The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive.
The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.
Standard 4: Assessment of Child Progress
The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development. These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop.
The program promotes the nutrition and health of children and protects children and staff from illness and injury. Children must be healthy and safe in order to learn and grow. Programs must be healthy and safe to support children’s healthy development.
The program employs and supports a teaching staff with the educational qualifications, knowledge and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse needs and interests.
Standard 7: Families
The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings. These relationships are sensitive to family composition, language and culture. To support children’s optimal learning and development, programs need to establish relationships with families based on mutual trust and respect, involve families in their children’s educational growth, and encourage families to fully participate in the program.
Standard 8: Community Relationships
The program establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals. Relationships with agencies and institutions in the community can help a program achieve its goals and connect families with resources that support children’s healthy development and learning.
The program has a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. The environment includes facilities, equipment and materials to facilitate child and staff learning and development.
Standard 10: Leadership and Management
The program effectively implements policies, procedures and systems that support stable staff and strong personnel, and fiscal, and program management so all children, families and staff have high-quality experiences.
In 2006, a group of Grace families collaborated with the Director and teaching staff to apply for accreditation, a year-long process that required providing evidence that our preschool meets every standard listed above. In 2007, we became the first NAEYC accredited cooperative preschool program in Walnut Creek. So those letters attached to our school are a pretty big deal, and parents at Grace know that not only do they think Grace is a great place for their child to go to school, but so does a national organization!
For further information about NAEYC (it has a page for families with lots of useful resources!) go to: http://www.naeyc.org/
contribute as a responsible community member. – See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/accredited-article/10-naeyc-program-standards#sthash.auoiFl1j.dpuf