National Accreditation Commission
- 1,300 Programs Participating in Accreditation
- 35 States, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Overseas
The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs offers early childhood leaders the opportunity to demonstrate and document quality performance using research-based criteria and evidence-based practices. The National Accreditation Commission provides a comprehensive, ongoing quality improvement system that recognizes the inherent diversity among programs through the self-study and award process. Over 1,300 early learning programs in 35 states, the District of Colombia and overseas participate, including university and college campus-based programs, private child care, faith-based preschools, Head Start, public PreK, corporate centers, DoD programs, employer-sponsored programs, and Montessori programs.
National Accreditation Commission Key Factors
- Promotes professionalism and program quality in early care and education programs across the nation.
- Aligned with state early learning outcomes and quality improvement initiatives.
- Respects individual program autonomy and philosophy.
- Included in government-funded quality enhancement initiatives, including the Department of Defense Military and Families Program.
During the self-study phase, parents, staff and administrators evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the program based on the study of National Accreditation Commission Standards. The program has a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years to complete the self-study process and to request an onsite visit.
Upon enrollment, programs receive the National Accreditation Commission Manual which they will use throughout the self-study process and once the accreditation is awarded.
Commission Review and Decision
Maintaining Accreditation Compliance
Adherence to Commission Standards must become a habit. It falls on the shoulders of the onsite director to assure that Commission Standards are consistently maintained after an award of accreditation.
During the four-year award period, accredited programs are required to submit annual reports. The reports are due on the anniversary date of accreditation. Failure to submit an Annual Report is grounds for withdrawal of accreditation. Incomplete or unacceptable annual reports will result in temporary suspension of accreditation until all required information has been received.
Reporting Changes to the National Accreditation Commission
Current contact information is needed by the National Accreditation Commission to provide programs with notices, reminders, changes in Commission policies and procedures, and other essential communication. The program will be held accountable for the content of all communication sent to the contact information on file in the National Accreditation Commission office.The National Accreditation Commission must also be notified immediately of any change in: director/ administration, ownership, relocation or expansion, significant licensing noncompliance, loss or suspension of license or criminal conviction of a staff member. To notify the National Accreditation Commission of any changes, submit the Initial Notification Form, found on the Accreditation Forms page, as the first step in the notification process.
Withdrawal of Accreditation
– is no longer in compliance with Commission standards
– has failed to comply with Commission procedures
– has failed to submit required documentation
– has reported false information
Use of Logos
Verification of Commission Standards
Certain validation methods have been identified to confirm compliance with Standards and Indicators. These are [D] Document Review, [O] Observation, [PS] Parent Survey, [SS] Staff Survey, and [I] Interview. Validation methods that will be used for a specific Standard are listed following each Indicator or Standard. All methods used to verify a Standard are listed in the box labeled, “For Validator’s Use Only” below each Standard.
A number of forms are provided for gathering, organizing, and reporting required information. The forms are located in relevant places in the National Accreditation Commission Manual, along with corresponding instructions for their completion. Follow the instructions exactly, as no other formats will be acceptable. All paperwork submitted to the Accreditation Office requires a submission form. Since reports can require similar documentation, paperwork that does not include the identifying form can be sent to an incorrect reviewer. This can delay or prevent processing and review.
Additional submission forms are also found on the Accreditation Forms page.
Glossary of Terms
NOTE: Programs sometimes choose to work with an outside consultant or mentor while participating in the self-study process. Directors should be aware that only National Accreditation Commission staff can clarify standards and indicators with complete accuracy.
Using a consultant/mentor does not lessen the need for the onsite director to read and understand the Accreditation Manual, as the director is the person held accountable for implementing and maintaining standards and procedures. Outside consultants/mentors are not allowed in the center at any time during the validation visit.
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The Association for Early Learning Leaders is committed to excellence in the field of early childhood care and education by promoting leadership development and enhancing program quality.