|Self-Study (Enroll Now)|
The first step to becoming accredited through the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs is to enroll in self-study.
Enrolling in Self-Study
Complete the online self-study enrollment by clicking on the Enroll Now button. You can also download the Enrollment Form. Accreditation fees are based on license capacity. Programs can pay using a credit card or select the Bill Me option. If selecting Bill Me, submit a copy of the invoice with payment and Mail to:
Association for Early Learning Leaders
8000 Centre Park Drive, Ste. 170
Austin, TX 78754
The Accreditation Manual will be mailed within two weeks of receipt of full payment.
The self-study is effective for two years from the date of enrollment. Programs must submit the Request for Validation Visit and all required support documents/materials prior to the expiration of the self-study.
EligibilityEarly care and education programs applying for accreditation must be in compliance with state and local regulatory agencies.
New programs may enroll in the National Accreditation Commission self-study immediately, but must have been in continuous operation for at least one year at the time of the validation visit.
Only programs that have an enrollment of fifteen or more children and operate on a half or full-day basis are eligible.
Programs operating under separate licensing and/or having separate physical locations will be considered as separate entities for participation in the accreditation process.
School age groups associated with a preschool, with the same onsite director, and located at the same site with the same license must participate in the self-study and accreditation process.
NOTE: We do not accredit kindergartens, family group homes or stand-alone school age group care.
Each program will establish its own timetable for moving through the Accreditation Self-Study process, but must complete all of the required steps in the process. Implementation of some tasks may occur simultaneously. The required time period for the self-study is no less than six months and no more than two years. The program must submit the completed Self-Study Timetable>>.
Administrator’s ReportReview standards and indicators in the Administrator’s Report (Standards A1 – C25) with all staff members. This is a necessary step as staff will be asked to respond to their experience with certain administrative standards in their confidential staff survey.
Use the Glossary of Terms (behind Appendices tab) to clarify terms used in standards/indicators (glossary terms listed below the "For Validator’s Use Only” box following each standard).
Discuss current level of compliance.
Identify areas where improvements can be made.
Develop, modify and implement policies and procedures as needed to comply with Commission Standards.
Compare indicators in Commission Standards with your current staff handbook and parent handbook.
Add and/or make changes to policies and procedures as needed.
Inform staff and/or parents of the changes as applicable.
Implement new policies and procedures.
Monitor staff to ensure that they understand and put policy and procedure changes into practice.
All standards and indicators in the Administrator’s Report are considered to be appropriate for all programs unless the standard/indicator specifies otherwise. It is not acceptable to mark a standard or indicator "N/A” unless that choice is listed. If you have a unique program, such as 24-hour care, campus center with student staff, or temporary care, and are unclear about how to implement a standard or indicator, contact the Association office for clarification.
Compile the Formal Education and On-going Training Log.
Compile and store required documentation as specified in Document Organization.
All standards in the Classroom Observation are considered to be appropriate for all age groups. Indicators, however, are grouped by ages. All age groups will be observed for the "All Ages” indicators. Additionally, each group will be observed for the indicators that correspond to that age range.
It is not acceptable to mark a standard or indicator "N/A” unless that choice is listed, or unless an age is specified in the "Infants/Toddlers/Twos” category that is different from the group being observed (e.g., a teacher of toddlers would write "N/A” beside an indicator that specified infants). If you are unclear on how to implement a standard or indicator in a particular age group, contact the Association office for clarification.
Duplicate as many copies of the Classroom Observation as needed. At a minimum, one copy will be needed for self-evaluation by the teachers of each classroom, a second copy for each classroom will be used by the director when making observations, and a third copy will be necessary for recording final ratings for the validator. Retain the original copies of the Classroom Observation for future use if needed.
Prior to beginning observations, review standards and indicators in the Classroom Observation(Standards D1 – F8) with all staff members.
Use the Glossary of Terms to clarify terms used in standards/indicators (glossary terms listed below the "For Validator’s
Use Only” box following each standard).
Encourage staff to give examples of how a standard is met in their classroom.
Brainstorm additional ways to more fully meet the standard.
Acknowledge implementation of standards during routine supervision.
Observations of Classrooms/TeachersThe classroom teacher(s) makes a self-report on compliance with standards and indicators in a copy of the Classroom Observation.
The teacher checks each indicator that is judged to be met and rates the standard as "Meets Standard” or "Needs Improvement”. If any indicator cannot be checked, that standard is to be marked as "Needs Improvement”.
Next, the director makes observations in each classroom and makes ratings on the teacher’s compliance with standards in a separate copy of the Classroom Observation.
The director checks each indicator under a standard that he/she judges to be met and rates the teacher on each standard as "Meets Standard” or "Needs Improvement”.
After making independent ratings, the teacher and director meet to compare ratings, identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
Discrepancies are discussed and a plan is developed for improvement of standards where there is not strong evidence of compliance.
The plan might include training, modeling by the director and/or mentor, observation of another teacher who demonstrates strength in the area, topic discussion at staff meeting, etc. The plan always includes monitoring by the director to assure that sufficient improvement occurs in the classroom before a request is made for an onsite validation visit. The director makes additional observations and continues to train and supervise teachers until there is strong evidence of compliance with each Commission standard and each indicator applicable to the age group.
Please NoteEach eligible classroom must be observed and rated on standards and indicators in the Classroom Observation, including the following:
Each school age group provided as an extension of a preschool program is to be observed and rated on the Classroom Observation. If the validation visit occurs during summer months when a school age summer program is in session, a Classroom Observation must be completed for each group in the school age program.
If an extended-day program is provided, such as early morning and evening care, a Classroom Observation must be completed for each extended-day group.
A kindergarten class or stand-alone (off-site) school age program is not to be included as The National Accreditation Commission does not accredit these groups.
A final Classroom Observation is to be prepared for each additional classroom that may be formed after the onsite visit has been requested but prior to the validation visit (such as may be the case for a school-age summer program).
All adults in the classroom, including the assistant teachers/teacher aides, are expected to meet all standards in the Classroom Observation.
Newly hired teachers should be oriented to Commission Standards and follow the entire self- study observation process: complete the self-evaluation and be observed by the director. New lead teachers record final ratings on a copy of the
Classroom Observation for validator’s use.
All copies of the Classroom Observation completed by teachers and director during the self-study process remain at the center and available to the validator on the day of the visit.