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Overview of Current Programs

NAEYC strives to improve early childhood education for all young children through the following strategic objectives. Key programs are listed for each objective, recognizing that many programs fulfill multiple objectives.

Provide professional development opportunities and resources

NAEYC is a leading publisher of educational resources—including books, videos, and posters—for those interested in early childhood education. Our journals, Young Children and Early Childhood Research Quarterly, help NAEYC members and other early childhood professionals stay informed about the latest research and ideas they can use in their daily work.

Supporting Teachers, Strengthening Families, a project supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, is designed to help prevent child abuse and neglect and promote children’s healthy social and emotional development by helping early childhood educators better communicate with families on these important issues.

The School Readiness Connections project, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is designed to enhance resources and interactive opportunities for Knight Community Partners Program grantees that have identified school readiness and earl childhood education as priorities. NAEYC is assisting these communities in their efforts, while building on this work to develop new distance learning opportunities for the wider early childhood education field.

Convene individuals and groups with diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to young children to generate new knowledge and understanding

NAEYC Conferences are widely recognized as vital meeting places for those concerned about young children and early childhood education. The NAEYC Annual Conference regularly draws 25,000 participants and provides valuable professional development opportunities for the field. The National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development is a unique annual opportunity to focus on issues related to early childhood professional preparation and related research, policies, and practices. NAEYC Affiliate-sponsored Conferences provide further professional development opportunities for the field.

Set and promote standards for Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Professional Preparation

NAEYC is widely recognized for its work in setting standards and creating position statements on a broad array of topics related to early childhood education. Standards and other position statements are typically developed using a broad-based consensus building approach that reflects current knowledge of research as well as practice.

Recognize early childhood education programs and early childhood professional preparation programs that meet NAEYC Standards

The NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation has operated at the core of our efforts to improve early childhood education quality since 1985. Programs must meet quality standards that address areas such as relationships between children and teachers, curriculum, health and safety, and program management.

NAEYC also recognizes early childhood professional preparation programs that meet its standards. Baccalaureate and advanced degree programs are assessed and recognized through NAEYC’s participation in the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NAEYC's newest accreditation system recognizes excellence in associate degree programs in early childhood education.

Build public understanding to support all young children and their families

Each spring, NAEYC sponsors the Week of the Young Child to focus public attention on the importance of the early years for children's development and learning. NAEYC leaders are frequent sources for the media, especially on issues related to young children’s development and learning and child rearing practices. Early Years Are Learning Years provide helpful information to families of young children and teachers of young children.

Advocate for public policies to support a comprehensive system of early childhood education for all young children and families

NAEYC works at the federal level—and with our Affiliates at the state and local levels—to encourage bipartisan efforts to make high-quality early childhood programs available and affordable to all young children and their families. Our Children’s Champions Action Center provides critical information to support advocacy efforts and allows NAEYC members and other stakeholders to email their members of Congress.

Create a network of High Performing Inclusive Organizations to promote excellence in early childhood education for all young children

NAEYC Affiliates recently completed a 3-year restructuring process designed to strengthen our organizational capacity to work on behalf of all young children and families. These state and community organizations are vital partners in achieving our mission and goals. NAEYC Interest Forums provide opportunities for members who share issues of common concern related to the NAEYC mission to network and dialogue with each other. One of NAEYC’s newest initiatives is the NAEYC Global Alliance, which brings together groups from around the world that share NAEYC’s commitment to young children.