Early Childhood

Rules for Accrediting Early-Childhood Programs Revisited

By Linda Jacobson — May 15, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children could soon last for five years, instead of three. Individuals who coordinate accreditation visits would be paid for their work. And programs that earned accreditation would be expected to keep improving their programs.

The recommendations are available from the National Assocation for the Education of Young Children.

Those are among the recommendations for improving the NAEYC’s accreditation system that are currently being considered by the association’s board.

The group is asking for comments on the 10 recommendations from directors of early- childhood programs, other members of the early-childhood community, and parents.

The NAEYC board will gather comments through June 15 and is expected to make a final decision on the new accreditation system in July. The association is slated to unveil all the changes at the group’s annual meeting in November in New York City.

Changes to the process, however, do not mean that the criteria that programs must meet to earn accreditation are set to change—at least not yet. A review of those standards is expected to begin next fall.

More than two years ago, the Washington-based professional association convened a “reinvention commission” of experts in early-childhood education to take on the task of revamping the popular accreditation system. Close to 8,000 programs are currently accredited, and efforts to help more programs through the process have spread in recent years.

The commission was charged with finding ways to respond to the increasing numbers of programs seeking accreditation without lowering the standards that programs must meet. (“NAEYC Asks for Critiques of Its Accreditation Program,” Oct. 24, 2001.)

Making It Pay

According to the proposal, the panel’s recommendations “are intended to make NAEYC accreditation a standard-bearer for high-quality early-childhood programs.”

Issues considered by the 10-member group included whether the volunteers who evaluate programs before accreditation is granted should be paid.

Under the proposed rules, those people—who would be called assessors instead of the current term, “validators"—would still be reimbursed for their expenses.

The commission is recommending, though, that more highly skilled early-childhood professionals be hired as lead assessors and that they be “equitably compensated” for the extra oversight duties they perform.

The commission also recommends that even though the early-childhood years are defined as birth through age 8, the accreditation system should focus only on programs serving children through kindergarten.

“I think how we communicate this is really important,” said Mark Ginsberg, the executive director of the 100,000-member association. “This is not intended to signal that the association is narrowing its focus.”

The shift, he said, would be intended to acknowledge the growth of the accreditation system of the National School-Age Care Alliance, a Boston-based association focused on after-school programs. In addition, he noted, other associations accredit schools serving children in the primary grades.

More Steps Proposed

Under the recommendations, additional steps would be added to the accreditation process. For example, a program that was beginning the process would file a “notice of intent,” after which it would have one year to submit documents to the organization.

In addition, accredited programs would be required to continue making progress to retain their accreditation, under the proposed rules.

The site visit by an assessor would occur during a 15-day window, the proposal recommends. That change would address the complaints by some directors that they often didn’t know when the visits were to take place as they went through the accreditation process.

Under the current system, programs that do not receive accreditation are labeled as “deferred.” But under the proposed rules, a new category of “denied” would be added for those programs that failed to meet the criteria for accreditation within a specific time frame.

If the new system is adopted, a transition period would begin, allowing programs that are now working toward accreditation to continue to work under the existing rules. The new system would take effect in 2005.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 15, 2002 edition of Education Week as Rules for Accrediting Early-Childhood Programs Revisited

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Which States Offer Universal Pre-K? It's More Complicated Than You Might Think
Universal pre-K is growing in popularity. Here are the states that have already established universal preschool programs or policies.
2 min read
Early Childhood Support for Universal Pre-K Grows as More States Jump on Board
New Mexico became the latest state to approve investments in pre-K programs.
5 min read
A Pre-K student plays with the class guinea pig at Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Aug. 17, 2021. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states offering universal pre-k to all students.
A prekindergarten student plays with the class guinea pig at Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 2021. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states offering universal pre-K.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Early Childhood As Head Start Quality Push Continues, Advocates Raise Red Flag on Equity
Inadequate federal funding forces Head Start providers to choose between quality and quantity, a new report contends.
2 min read
A multi-ethnic group of preschool students is sitting with their legs crossed on the floor in their classroom. The mixed-race female teacher is sitting on the floor facing the children. The happy kids are smiling and following the teacher's instructions. They have their arms raised in the air.
E+/Getty
Early Childhood Spotlight Spotlight on Early Learning
This Spotlight will help you examine the impact of early education programs on high school performance, evaluate pre-K programs, and more.