NAEYC's Four Step Accreditation Process

The accreditation process involves four steps:

Step 1: Enrollment

Program personnel and parents conduct a self-study to determine how well the program meets the Academy's Criteria, make needed improvements, and report the compliance with the Criteria on the Program Description form provided by the Academy.

Step 2:  Self Study

Enrollment in Self-Study is the first of four steps toward achieving NAEYC Accreditation. It is an essential step toward achieving NAEYC Accreditation, but programs may also enroll even if they do not expect to proceed with the other steps toward NAEYC Accreditation in the near future.

Step 3: Candidacy

When the program submits its completed Candidacy Materials**, the program is eligible to become a Candidate for NAEYC Accreditation. Through candidacy, NAEYC is establishing baseline requirements that must be met before the Academy arranges a site visit. These baseline requirements address fundamental aspects of program quality that are essential to the accountability of NAEYC Accreditation.

Step 4: Meet and Maintain Standards

After the site visit, NAEYC will inform the program of its Accreditation Decision:  Accredited, Deferred or Denied. An NAEYC-accredited program is the mark of quality in early childhood education - display your NAEYC accreditation certificate with pride! In order to maintain your accreditation throughout your five-year term, you must submit Annual Reports and complete a Self Report of Changes when your program experiences a major change. Your program is also eligible to receive Random Unannounced Visits and is responsible for submitting materials for reaccreditation in a timely manner to Avoid a Lapse as you Pursue Reaccreditation. For more information about maintaining your accreditation, please click on the appropriate links in the menu above.