kBy Michael Boss
The Children’s School NAEYC Accreditation Q&A
The Children’s School has again received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) — a recognition our school first achieved in 1989. The following Q&A offers additional context for our recent announcement of accreditation, and will hopefully provide a greater appreciation of why we are so proud of this accomplishment.
Q: What is the significance of the NAEYC accreditation?
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation system was created over 25 years ago as a set of voluntary professional standards for early childhood education programs. Since then it has become a widely recognized sign of quality, with more than 7,000 early childhood programs currently accredited nationwide.
In 1989, The Children’s School became the first early childhood education program in Boise to receive NAEYC accreditation. Since then, the Association has revised its program standards and criteria to introduce a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children. In receiving our latest five-year accreditation, our school has been acknowledged as among a select 8 percent of early childhood education programs nationally that have met the NAEYC’s standards. To quote NAEYC’s executive director, “Having earned NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that The Children’s School is a leader in a national effort to invest in high quality early childhood education.”
Q: Who is the NAEYC?
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Association for the Education of Young Children was created in 1926. With nearly 80,000 members, it is the world’s largest organization working independently on behalf of young children. The organization is committed to utilizing the newest studies and analysis on positive child outcomes to ensure young children continue receiving the highest quality care and education possible, and its accreditation standards reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development.
Q: What is the accreditation criteria?
To earn NAEYC Accreditation, a program must meet ten Early Childhood Program Standards, the framework of which focus on best practices in the field and the benefits to stakeholders in early childhood education, which include children, teachers, family and community partners, and the program administration. The accreditation criteria touch on our curriculum, teacher/student relationships, how we work with families as well as students, and the leadership and management practices of our administration.
Q: What is the accreditation process?
To earn its accreditation, The Children’s School went through an extensive self-study process that measured our program and its services against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. The self-study process required us to thoroughly assess the methods that we use in our program, including how we plan and develop our curriculum, the materials we use in the classroom, the qualifications of our staff, and how we work with our students and families. It is important to understand that the NAEYC accreditation process does not dictate our school’s philosophy, but rather how we realize it in our school and community. Following the evaluation process, the final accreditation decision was made after an onsite visit by NAEYC Assessors.
Q: What does accreditation say about The Children’s School?
NAEYC accreditation provides a guarantee of quality for parents seeking a positive education experience for their children — and many parents have come to us after consulting the NAEYC’s website list of accredited programs. Even more important to our staff, however, is its validation of our goals and philosophy. We believe that whole development occurs not just through learning in the traditional sense, but through cognitive and social/emotional growth — and that this growth happens through the one-on-one interaction of children and teachers in the classroom. Earning NAEYC accreditation recognizes that our teachers are the backbone of our program, and that the culture of our school places it in the ranks of the best early childhood education programs in our country. We are very proud of this.