Is NAEYC Accreditation Important in Early Childhood Education?

Is NAEYC Accreditation Important in Early Childhood Education?
November 10 10:22 2017 Print This Article

In a city the size of Chicago there are a whole host of child care options. If you’re looking into early childhood education programs in Chicago you may be overwhelmed by the options, both public and private, religious and nonreligious. Among the many factors going into your decision making, perhaps you wonder about accreditation. I mean, sure, accreditation is a big deal in higher education and in private K-12 schools, but is it really worth considering as a factor in early childhood education programs?

First, consider who it is that is offering this accreditation. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is an organization seeking to improve the quality of education for infants through age eight, and they offer accreditation of both early learning programs and higher education programs related to early childhood education. More than just setting standards, NAEYC advocates research-based practice and policy. In other words, they are advocates for best practices in the industry. NAEYC asserts that their accreditation program is the “gold standard for early childhood programs across the country.”

Second, consider the specific criteria necessary to achieve this accreditation related to early childhood education programs in Chicago. An NAEYC accredited program for toddlers includes this sampling of characteristics:

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  • Children have multiple opportunities to engage in active play safely, indoors and out.
  • Children remain under the care of one primary teacher, forming close relationships.
  • That teacher learns each toddler’s ways of communicating and nurtures a strong, communicative relationship with the child’s family.
  • Teachers understand that toddlers may not be able to fully express themselves through language and respond to cries and other cues.
  • Teachers nurture toddlers’ language skills so they can better express themselves.
  • Teachers are models for toddlers in treating others with respect and kindness.

And for preschool age children, an accredited program looks like this:

  • Children can connect what they learn with past experiences and current interests.
  • Children have activities and materials with a sufficient level of challenge without being overly difficult.
  • Children have ample outlets for both play and exploration as well as opportunities to relate what they learn with past experiences.
  • Every day, teachers read to children individually, in small groups, and as a large group.
  • Teachers guide children in getting the most out of each situation by commenting, questioning, and adding extra challenges as appropriate.

Clearly these are all highly desirable traits in early childhood education programs in Chicago, and NAEYC accreditation is an important indicator of quality. JCC Chicago is proudly fully accredited through NAEYC. Its caring team of faculty delivers on all the goals and expectations that NAEYC puts forward, and you can rest assured that in their care, your children will grow and thrive.

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