Frequently Asked Questions on NAEYC Accreditation

These FAQs were begun July 2006 and will be updated on a regular basis and posted at www.naeyc.org/academy; questions may be submitted to accreditation.information@naeyc.org.

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These questions and answers are based on actual questions received by the NAEYC Academy regarding its new accreditation system for programs for young children. They are organized in five sections. General questions about the overall system are followed by questions about each of the four steps involved in NAEYC Accreditation for programs for young children:

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q1: What are the fees for the new system?
The fee structure is unchanged. Fees vary by program size and are paid at Step 1— Enrollment, Step 2—Becoming an Applicant for NAEYC Accreditation, and Step 3—Becoming a Candidate for NAEYC Accreditation. Accredited programs pay an Annual Report fee during each year of their term of accreditation. For more info, see the complete chart of fees.

  Level 1
(10 to 60 children)
Level 2
(61 to 120 children)
Level 3
(121 to 240 children)
Level 4
(241 to 360 children*)
Every additional 120 children
Step 1
Enrollment
$425 $525 $650 $775 Add $100
Step 2
Application
$200 $275 $350 $425 Add $75
Steps 3 & 4
Candidacy / Onsite Visit
(paid at candidacy)
$650 $775 $950 $1,175 add $100
Annual Report $300 $350 $400 $450 add $100
*Additional fees will be incurred if verifications visits are required following a deferral or in response to questions regarding the program’s maintenance of their accreditation status. The verification visit fee is the same as the fee for Candidacy/On-site visit. The second review fee ranges from $200 for a Level 1 to $275 for a Level 4. This fee is applicable if a program is denied candidacy and wishes to submit for a second review.
*The fee for canceling or rescheduling an on-site visit is $250

Q2: My program has multiple different types of programs with different funding streams. When can I exclude portions of the program from the NAEYC Accreditation process? (May 2008)
A program can now demonstrate a separate public identity from a second program by documenting a separate budget, administration, license or other criteria.  In determining their public identity strong consideration of a parent’s perspective and understanding of the identity must be taken under advisement.

For example, if a Head Start program is physically located in a public school but has a separate identity from the school, the groups of children served by the public school ages birth through kindergarten would not have to be included with the Head Start program for the NAEYC Accreditation process.  The Head Start program could demonstrate this through documentation of a separate budget or other criteria.

For information on additional requirements of NAEYC Accreditation, please visit our Four Steps Overview

Q3: My program has hourly care groups, should I include them in the enrollment? (Jan. 2007)
Yes. Hourly care groups should be counted as full or part day groups and the number of children enrolled in these groups should be included in the total enrollment.

Q4: How can my program apply for scholarship offered by NAEYC? (Jan. 2007)
Programs can access the scholarship information and form from our website. Click here for scholarship information and form.

Q5: How are the scholarship recipients chosen by NAEYC? (Jan. 2007)
The scholarships are offered on financial need of a program. Scholarship applications are reviewed by our accounting firm with final award decisions determined by a team of NAEYC senior staff that does not include staff members of the NAEYC Academy.

Q6: I am at a currently accredited program that does not expire until 2009 but want to Enroll in Self-Study so that I may become familiar with the new criteria beginning September 2006. Will I be required to Enroll again when my reaccreditation date gets closer?
Programs that are currently accredited are encouraged to Enroll in Self-Study now. Your Enrollment will remain current because you will continually be provided with updates and revisions through your program record and the Self-Study website. Enrollment will remain valid for at least 5 years from the December 2005 release date.

Q7: When will the new logo be made available to programs?
NAEYC-accredited programs may access the new logo by logging onto the online program record site at http://program.naeyc.org. The first step is to enter your Login ID. (Your Login ID is your Program ID.) Then you will be asked to enter your Password. If this is the first time you’ve logged in, your Password is "Program". If you have logged in previously, please use the Password you created, or click "Forgot your password?" to have your Password emailed to you. Click on Accreditation Resources on the left hand side and you will find:

Q8: What are the qualifications for an assessor? How do I apply?
The qualifications and position description are posted here. Applications will be available in August 2006, and the number of assessors selected will be based upon determination of the number of assessments needed in each geographic region. Assessors will be selected in early fall and the initial training will be conducted in October at the new NAEYC Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Q9: Will current validators be included or considered for the training for assessors?
Current validators are welcome to apply for consideration as assessors.

Q10: Is there a specific email for submitting questions regarding the criteria or other aspects of the new system?
Please see the additional guidance posted at www.naeyc.org/selfstudy. If your question has not been addressed, submit it by email to accreditation.information@naeyc.org

Q11: My program has school-age children as well as younger children and our program’s accreditation will not expire for another three years. When I submit my Annual Report, should I count my school-age children that are older than kindergarten to figure out what level my program is, and therefore the appropriate fee?
A program accredited prior to September 2006 should count school-age children in its enrollment total for its Annual Reports, because the school-age component will be accredited through the current term of accreditation. When you enroll for reaccreditation under the new system, you will no longer need to count school-agers in your total enrollment.

Q12: Our program has a classroom that has children from 21 months to 48 months Which criteria apply to that group? And which ratios and group size do they need to meet?
The ratio chart (p. 83 in NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria; p. 27 in Getting Started) indicates that if infants or toddlers are in a mixed age group, the ratio for the youngest child applies. Therefore, in this example with toddlers mixed with preschool age children, the ratio for the youngest age group (21-36 months) applies to the entire classroom. Classrooms with mixed age groups should consider criteria for each group (in this example, Toddler/Twos and Preschool) as well as the Universal criteria.

Q13: NAEYC has defined early childhood as birth through 8 years of age. Why does the new accreditation system end at kindergarten? Are you redefining early childhood?
No. NAEYC’s mission remains focused on children birth through age 8. Although many of our position statements address issues related to issues affecting the primary grades, NAEYC Accreditation has never addressed the primary school day, largely because the primary grades are typically part of schools that are accredited by regional accrediting bodies. The decision to no longer accredit school-age components reflects the fact that many school-age programs serve children well beyond age 8 as well as the presence of a national accrediting body focused strictly on this age group (the National Afterschool Association). Although we will no longer accredit school-age classrooms as of September 2006, NAEYC is committed to honoring the accreditation of school-age programs and school-age classrooms within larger programs through their current 5-year term.

Q14: Does NAEYC collect data regarding its findings during unannounced visits? Will it publicize which criteria are most often cited as not met?
As part of its new system, NAEYC is collecting much more extensive data regarding program performance on the criteria, not only on random visits. This information will be regularly assessed and used to inform the development of training and technical assistance materials and to guide future criteria revision.

Q15: Has it been determined what the true cost is to reach and sustain NAEYC Accreditation?
The total cost for programs to operate at a level of quality consistent with NAEYC Accreditation depends on many factors, including the number and types of improvements that are needed as well as regional variation.

Q16: What is NAEYC’s response to states and other funders who have tied accreditation to funding so that the process is no longer voluntary and has high stakes associated with it?
Linking requirements for accreditation to funding can be an effective mechanism for improving the quality of early childhood services as long as adequate supports are provided to help programs reach and sustain the level of quality required for NAEYC Accreditation.

Q17: Were the accreditation materials field tested in half-day programs in faith-based institutions?
The field test included programs of various auspices, including part-day programs and programs in faith-based institutions.

Q18: Can individual trainers or consultants purchase the Self-Study kit?
Yes. The Self-Study Kit is available for individual purchase for the price of $395 for use in training and consultation. Note that the purchase of the kit in this way does NOT constitute enrollment in Self-Study. To make an individual purchase, contact ctseckares@naeyc.org.

Q19: Will the same rating scale of not met/partially met/fully met be used on assessment visits?
No. The 3-point rating scale used in the original system has been replaced by a determination of whether the criterion is met or not met. To meet a criterion, programs must demonstrate all indicators within that criterion (denoted by checkboxes in the criteria as outlined in the Self-Study Kit).

Q20: Do currently accredited programs follow the same steps of enrollment, application, candidacy, and meeting the standards for reaccreditation?
Yes. Currently accredited programs must follow all four steps, including enrolling in self study (Step 1). They may choose to enroll at any point during their current accreditation, providing the program sufficient time to complete each step before their current term expires. A chart on the NAEYC Website http://www.naeyc.org/academy/pdf/Applying_for_NAEYC_Accreditation_currently_accredited.pdf outlines dates by which currently accredited programs must apply (Step 2) and submit Candidacy materials (Step 3) to avoid a lapse in their accreditation status. Click here for more information about the 4 step process.

Q21: Is there a time frame by which Emerging Practice Criteria must be addressed?
Criteria identified as Emerging Practices will be counted toward the accreditation decision when they are met (but programs will not be penalized for not meeting them) until 2010.

Q22: My program is a part-year program that does not operate in the summer. How does this affect our accreditation timeline?
Part-year programs will need to consider their schedule in determining the best time for them for an on-site visit and their candidacy due date. Programs must be open for at least three months in the six-month window following their candidacy due date. Evidence collected as part of the self assessment process need not be limited to a single school year, but must be no more than 12 months old at the time of submission of candidacy materials.

Q23: My program operates less than 6 months per year and we are not open for 3 months in any one visit period. Does this mean we cannot become accredited?
If your program is not open for at least three months in any of the possible visit periods you should e-mail Quality Assurance (qualityassurance@naeyc.org) to work with the Academy in pursuing accreditation. The Application and Candidacy materials also provide programs the opportunity to share operational and scheduling details to be used by the assessor in planning for an on-site assessment.

Q24: What is the difference between an on-site visit and a verification visit?
The on-site visit refers to the visit received by all programs that achieve candidacy for NAEYC Accreditation when programs are seeking initial accreditation or reaccreditation. It is used to determine whether all program standards are met and informs the accreditation decision. Verification visits are conducted during a program’s term of accreditation to verify a program’s ongoing compliance. Verification visits may occur based on significant changes that have occurred at the program or based on other information that suggests a program may not be meeting the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards. In addition, all NAEYC-accredited programs are subject to random unannounced visits that are used to ensure that programs sustain the level of quality defined by the standards.

Q25: Is it true that currently accredited programs will be held accountable for the new standards during an unannounced visit before they are re-accredited under the new system?
Yes. All accredited programs must meet the new standards and criteria as of September 16, 2006. (Note: candidacy requirements apply only to programs seeking accreditation or reaccreditation after this date.) This is to avoid having dual systems of standards operate for a period of time which would be confusing to families, programs, and the public. This means that Annual Reports submitted after September 16, 2006, must be based on the new standards.

Q26:  What should a program do if a NAEYC criterion differs from a rule or regulation from a public agency (licensing, public school board, military, etc.) that regulates the program? (May 2007)
When a program is subject to a governmental rule of regulation that prohibits or exceeds the expectation outlined in a criterion, that rule or regulation takes precedence.  When a governmental rule or regulation differs in other ways, or sets a lower threshold of performance, NAEYC Accreditation Criteria takes precedence. 

Q27:  Could a program ask an assessor for help during the self-study and/or self-assessment step of the process?  Could they perform a “mock” visit at my program? (May 2007)
The list of individuals trained as assessors is not publicly available. Individuals who have been trained as NAEYC Local or Regional Assessors are not prohibited from working with early childhood programs or conducting trainings related to the field of early childhood education and/or NAEYC Accreditation.  When NAEYC assessors are not conducting official business, they do not-and may not purport to-represent NAEYC.  Individuals who are trained by NAEYC may act as consultants to individual programs, as long as they follow the NAEYC assessor services agreement.  This agreement requires them to not disclose any proprietary or special knowledge that they have acquired through their training or experience as an assessor.  Any information regarding the NAEYC Accreditation process that an NAEYC Assessor provides to an individual program through consultation or in a training may only include information that is publicly available through NAEYC.  Assessors are also required to disclose to NAEYC any relationship, whether contractual or informal, with any program that might be eligible for NAEYC Accreditation.

Q28:  Can I request that a specific Assessor not be allowed to assess my program or group of programs?  (May 2007)
No. Assessors are required to disclose to NAEYC any relationship, whether contractual or informal, with any program that might be eligible for NAEYC Accreditation, and also must provide to NAEYC signed copies of the Assessor/Program Consultant form for each such program.  Assessors agree to disclose in writing to NAEYC any relationship between the Assessor and a program which could interfere or be perceived to interfere with the Assessors’ ability to exercise objectivity in the accreditation process.  In the case where there is a relationship that the Academy deems a conflict of interest, another Assessor would be assigned to the program. 

Q29:  How do I access my program record?  (May 2007)
Please visit the on-line program record site at www.program.naeyc.org.  The first step is to enter your Login ID.  (Your Login ID is your Program ID.)  Then you will be asked to enter your Password. If this is the first time you’ve logged in, your Password is "Program". If you have logged in previously, please use the Password you created, or click "Forgot your password?" to have your Password emailed to you.

In the coming months, we will continue to develop the online program record site and will inform you when more information is posted. NAEYC is committed to creating an online support service where valuable information regarding NAEYC Accreditation can be accessed in one convenient location.

Q30:  My staff and I frequently have questions about the interpretation of specific criteria.  Are their any resources available to us?  (May 2007)
Be sure that you have read the information in the Standard book, included in your Self-Study Kit regarding what you need to know about the standard, its criteria and the literature review for that standard.  In addition, the NAEYC Academy has developed Additional Guidance on NAEYC Accreditation Criteria based on questions to the Academy’s Information Center.  The Additional Guidance is available in your program record at www.program.naeyc.org or www.naeyc.org/selfstudy.  If you have a question that is not addressed by the Additional Guidance or these FAQ’s, please contact the Information Center by e-mail at accreditation.information@naeyc.org or by telephone at (800) 424-2460 and select option 3. 

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STEP 1. ENROLLMENT

Q1: I recently Enrolled in Self-Study but will not be ready to become an applicant for several more years. Will I have to enroll again and purchase new materials? (Jan. 2007)
Programs that that have Enrolled in Self-Study with the 2005 Standards and Criteria may use that enrollment if they decide to pursue NAEYC Accreditation until 2011. While NAEYC’s reinvented system is committed to continuous improvement and there will be changes announced, such as when the emerging criteria are considered in 2008, they will be provided to programs via their program record, Academy Updates, and self-study web page and will not require programs to enroll in self-study again.

Q2: In the classroom Portfolio section of the Assessment Tools book, the text states that for Health (Standard 5), Teachers (Standard 6), Families (Standard 7), Physical Environment (Standard 9) and Leadership & Management (Standard 10) there is no evidence needed for the Classroom Portfolio. However, I am finding in each of the Standards books, on the criteria charts, that there are criteria in these standards that indicate the Classroom Portfolio (CP) as a source of evidence. These seem to be contradict each other.
An updated list of sources of evidence is posted on our website. Click on the link “Sources of Evidence for All Criteria

Q3: If a large program with multiple sites, each of which is individually accredited with different expiration dates, has ordered multiple sets of the new accreditation materials, can that program share those materials within its programs?
The multi-site rules have not changed so if the sites were individually accredited under the old system, they will likely need to remain individually accredited under the new system. Each program (either individual site or one that meets the multi-site rules) must enroll independently. Programs may not apply for NAEYC Accreditation (Step 2) without completing Enrollment (Step 1). The fees are structured to spread the costs over the entire system and the enrollment fees are part of that cost model.

Q4: If I anticipate my program increasing or decreasing in the number of children enrolled later in the accreditation process, how do I determine what fee to pay at each step of the process?
Programs pay for the Level that corresponds to their enrollment at the time the service is requested, except in the case when the enrollment decreases each summer. If the enrollment decreases each summer, a program should pay for the level of children they typically have enrolled throughout the school year or majority of the year.

Q5: My program is a multi-site program. Can I enroll as one site and not include my two additional sites until Candidacy?
No. Programs that are interested in becoming accredited as a multi-site program and meet the eligibility requirements must enroll, apply, and become a candidate as one program.

Q6: I enrolled as a single site but then we bought the building down the block and have expanded. What do I do?
A program that enrolls as a single site and then expands to a multi-site program must notify the Academy before becoming an Applicant (Step 2).

Q7: My program has been accepted as an Applicant for NAEYC Accreditation (Step 2) and our additional site has just decided they would like to pursue accreditation as well. May I include the additional site in the Candidacy materials?
Programs may not increase the number of sites or change the sites that are clustered between the submitting the Application and the Accreditation Decision.

Q8: My program achieved NAEYC Accreditation last year and we have just expanded into a second site. What do I need to do?
Programs that expand to an additional site after NAEYC Accreditation is awarded must notify the NAEYC Academy to consider if the site may be added and what additional verification may need to occur.

Q9: I have 4 sites that were accredited as two separate programs. One of the sites is moving and needs to be grouped with the other two. How can I change the grouping of accredited sites in the Academy’s records?
Programs that are interested in switching the sites that clustered after they achieve NAEYC Accreditation must pay an administrative processing fee of $100 per site change. Programs may not add preexisting sites that are not accredited.

Q10: I have a camp program during the summer and some of my teachers take vacations. We replace the teachers with college students during the camp. Do I need to include the camp program?
A program must include all eligible age groups it serves. The camp may only be excluded if the 9 month program and camp are operated as two separate programs, with separate public identities, separate budgets, and separate administrators.

Q11: My program includes preschool and kindergarten classes. Do we have to include the kindergarten class in our accreditation?
A program must include all eligible age groups it serves. If preschool and kindergarten classes are operated as two separate programs, with separate public identities, separate budgets, and separate administrators, they pursue accreditation as separate entities.

Q12: We are a school serving children (3 years) through 6th grade. When we apply for NAEYC Accreditation, do we have to include the kindergarten program?
All eligible age groups within a program must be enrolled. Institutions that have multiple programs within the same building where each program has a separate identifiable name and separate budget may elect to enroll only one program (for example, a public school may enroll only its preK classes without the kindergarten classes when the classes are operated as separate entities with separate funding structures.).

Q13: Does “kindergarten” refer to the child’s age or whether children are enrolled in kindergarten? If kindergarten kids come to our center after the public kindergarten program (for aftercare program along w/preschoolers) must the afternoon program (extended care) meet the K criterion?
Kindergarten is defined as public or private kindergarten. Kindergartners include all children who attend a private or public kindergarten (within the program or at another school) regardless of their age. Groups serving kindergarten children, including those who attend a program for a part of the day, will be assessed using the K criteria. If a group includes kindergartners as well as primary grade children, the group will be assessed on the K criteria if at least half of the group are kindergarten children.

Q14: If parents enroll a child who is eligible to attend kindergarten in my preschool program, should that child be included in the enrollment count for my preschool group?
Yes, a child who is enrolled in a preschool group is included in the enrollment for that group even if he is eligible by age to attend kindergarten.

Q15: One of our classroom age groups is 12 months to 24 months. So, what new standards and criteria would apply to this age group? Are they infants or toddlers?
Age groups purposefully overlap to allow programs some flexibility in grouping children and to accommodate different state licensing definitions of age groups. Toddler/two groups may include children 12 to 28 months, so this group would be considered a Toddler/Two group. However, a group of children between 2 and 15 months would be considered an Infant group.

Q16: I am working with an NAEYC-accredited program with a school-age component. Children range in age from 5-11, but from year to year the majority of age changes. Will this component continue to be covered by NAEYC Accreditation?
School-age components will continue to be accredited through their current term of NAEYC Accreditation. In September 2006, school-age components must be included only when at least half of the children in that group are of kindergarten age.

Q17: When enrolling in Self-Study, the fee is based on total enrollment. Does that include School-age children?
No. School-age children (in first grade or beyond) should be excluded when determining enrollment. Although not counted in enrollment, school-agers may be observed during the on-site assessment visit if they are included in a group in which at least half of the children are of kindergarten age.

Q18: Is there a readiness survey to determine if programs are ready for Self-Study?
NAEYC believes that any program is ready for Self-Study, Step 1 toward achieving NAEYC Accreditation. We encourage all programs to enroll in the Self-Study process or alternatively, to take advantage of the separate standards books to use the accreditation criteria to assist them in their quality improvement efforts. The Self-Study tools then provide assessment tools to help programs determine when they are ready to move to Step 2 to make a formal application to begin the NAEYC Accreditation process.

Q19: When do currently accredited programs need to enroll in the new system?
Currently accredited programs may enroll (Step 1) at any time. Even recently accredited programs are encouraged to enroll in the new system to receive the Self-Study Kit and its information regarding meeting the criteria. All programs will be subject to the new standards and criteria as of September 2006. Once enrolled, programs will receive any updated information regarding changes in policy or criteria.

Currently accredited programs should review the timeframe posted on the NAEYC website for the dates by which they must apply (Step 2) and submit candidacy materials (Step 3) to avoid a lapse in their accreditation status. Click here.

Q20:  May I fax my enrollment form or submit it online?  (May 2007)
NAEYC requires that enrollment forms and full payment be submitted to NAEYC by mail to the appropriate post office box.  A program may not submit an enrollment form online nor fax the enrollment form.

If you wish to receive written confirmation that your form and payment has been received at our P.O. Box, please request at the Post Office that your item be mailed with a Return Receipt.  You may choose Regular mail Return Receipt or Certified Mail Return Receipt. 

Q21:  What is my customer number?  (May 2007)
The customer number is dependent upon who issues the payment and therefore can change.  If you have not been given a specific customer ID to use (as part of a project that pays for your accreditation), NAEYC staff will look up this information upon receipt of your document.

Q22:  May I photocopy materials in the Self-Study Kit in order to train my staff?  (May 2007)
It is permissible to make copies of the materials in your Self-Study Kit for individual program use.  You may purchase individual Standards books, rather than the full kit, for $25 each at our online store http://sales.naeyc.org/default.aspx (stock number 9900) or by calling (800) 424-2460, option 6.  The Assessment Tools book is not available for purchase separately, but the tools in that book were meant to be copied by programs for use during self study.  Individuals may also review the Standards and Criteria on the web at http://www.naeyc.org/academy/standards.

Q23:  Can a program submit an enrollment form and an application at the same time?  (May 2007)
While it is certainly preferable that a program have enrolled in self-study and been engaged in the process of self-study before submitting an application, there are some occasions when a program needs to move through these two steps simultaneously.  To do so, please send your enrollment form and application form together, in one envelope, and mail it to the P.O. Box indicated on the Application form.  Make sure to include a note with your application stating that you are submitting your enrollment and application forms together.  You may include one check or purchase order to cover the cost of both enrollment and application.

When completing the Application on page 6 it will ask: My program has been enrolled in Self-Study (Step 1).  Staff is familiar with the Self-Study kit and is in the final stages of the self-study process at this time.   If you have not received your self study kit at the time you submit your application, you still must check this box because by submitting your Enrollment and Application forms together, your program is committed to reviewing the Self Study kit once it is received.

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STEP 2. APPLICATION

Q1: What is the difference between Self-Study (Step 1: Enrollment) and Self-Assessment (Step 2: Application)?
The system is designed so that Step 1: Enrolling in Self-Study is open to all programs and offers tools for them to engage in continuous program improvement. The process is self-paced and programs may choose to use all or some of the Standards. There is no prescriptive way that they must approach self-study.

Once a program becomes an Applicant they are formally pursuing NAEYC Accreditation and therefore, begin a formal self-assessment. The Self-Assessment must be completed within 1 year. The formal self-assessment requires the program to gather evidence for all of the criteria using specific tools and report the evidence to the Academy in their Candidacy Materials.

Programs in self-study who know that they are interested in pursuing NAEYC Accreditation or reaccreditation may choose to combine the two steps by structuring their self-study to meet the requirements for formal self-assessment, but they are not required to do so.

Q2: My program is exempt from state licensing, do we have to get licensed? (Jan. 2007)
If your program is not regulated or licensed and you are eligible for licensure in your state, then your program is required to be licensed.

If your program is not regulated, not licensed, and license-exempt but NOT eligible for licensure, then the program must verify that:

If your program is license-exempt, but regulated by the state, then the program must provide documentation to demonstrate that your program is regulated by the state or other body.

Q3: My program is a religious licensed-exempt, eligible to be licensed but regulated. We have chosen not to be licensed. Do I now have to become licensed in order to pursue NAEYC Accreditation? (Jan. 2007)
No, if you can document that your program is ‘regulated’ by the state you do not have to become licensed. The Application requirement is that the program is licensed or regulated, therefore you would meet the requirement.

Q4: My program is exempt from licensing but eligible to become licensed. Must we be licensed before we can apply for accreditation?
Programs that are eligible for licensing or regulation by their state must have proof that they have taken the steps to obtain the license or become regulated. It is not necessary for the process to be completed by the state before the program is eligible to apply for NAEYC Accreditation.

Q5: What if my program is prohibited from becoming licensed?
Programs that are eligible to be regulated by another public agency (for example, a Board of Education or the U.S. military) must be regulated in that way. Programs that are legally prohibited from state licensing or other forms of public regulation must voluntarily comply with their state licensing requirements. At the time of candidacy, the program must provide documentation that the program has been inspected by local fire and health authorities, that it is in compliance with state and federal laws concerning background checks for staff, and that it does not employ any individual convicted of a crime involving sexual abuse or child abuse or neglect. In addition, the program must provide information to families about state licensing requirements and inform families that the program is voluntarily meeting these requirements.

Q6: I am a currently accredited program with a deadline imposed by the Academy to maintain our accredited status. Do I need to select a Candidacy due date and/or complete page 8 of the Application? (Jan. 2007)
Yes. Currently Accredited programs must refer to the Timeline for currently accredited programs ensure that you select a Candidacy due date based on your program’s accreditation expiration date to avoid a lapse in your program’s accreditation status. Currently accredited programs must complete page 8 of the Application in its entirety to notify the Academy of their intention to maintain their accredited status and submit Candidacy materials. This is important because some accredited programs are selecting to take more time to complete their self-study and self-assessment and allowing their accredited status to lapse by selecting a later date. Page 8 notifies the Academy of your programs choice.

Q7: If my program enrolled as a multi-site program, but my second site’s enrollment has increased to more than 60 children since the program enrolled, do I need to complete only one “Application”? (Jan. 2007)
No. Prior to completing the Application, please contact the Academy to inform them about your second site’s increased enrollment. The Academy staff will provide guidance on how to proceed.

Q8: Why do programs have to check all of the boxes on pages 6-Understanding NAEYC Accreditation, and 13-Signature of the Application? (Jan. 2007)
The application is designed to ensure programs are meeting all of the eligibility requirements, is committed to engaging in a collaborative process, and understands the next steps and requirements of the process. By placing a check in each box the program staff and leadership acknowledges their understanding of the statements and commitment to this process.

Q9: Should I indicate if my program has a full-day and/or part-day group(s)? (Jan. 2007)
Yes. This information is important to the Academy understand how your program operates and to schedule the program’s on-site assessment visit. There are multiple places that it will be noted in the Application and again in more detail in the Candidacy Materials.

Q10: If my program is enrolled in Self-Study as a multi-site why do I need to indicate the distance between sites on page 4 of the Application? (Jan. 2007)
Only programs that enroll in NAEYC Self-Study as a multi-site program are eligible to become a multi-site NAEYC Applicant. Therefore, programs must indicate the distance between sites on page 4 of the Application which may not exceed 5 miles and can be verified through various mapping software available on the web.

Q11: Our nursery school operates from September to early June. Is it possible for us to select the January 31 candidacy due date in our application and receive a visit by the end of May?
Programs must be open for at least three months in the six-month window following their candidacy due date, so yes, a part-year program may opt for the January 31st due date and receive a visit by the end of May.

Q12: Can my program conduct Family and Teacher surveys multiple times during the Self-Study and/or the Self-Assessment process? (Jan. 2007)
Yes, as long as the final version of surveys is 12 months current and the survey located in your Guide to Self-Assessment is the final version used and tallied.

Q13: My program operates during the nine month school year, do the surveys completed during the Self-Assessment have to be from the same school year? (Jan. 2007)
No, the surveys need to be 12 months current, but not necessarily from the same ‘9 month school year.’

Q14: What percentage of the surveys must be returned to us from families and the teaching staff? (Jan. 2007)
Programs must receive the survey back from at least 80% of the teaching staff and 50% of the families. Programs will not be granted Candidacy if these return rates are not met.

Q15: What percentage of the surveys should have positive feedback? (Jan. 2007)
The Assessor will be looking for at least 75% of the respondents to have said ‘Yes’. The number of ‘NA’ responses will not be included in this percentage.

Q16: Where can my program find the self-assessment surveys and tools? (Jan. 2007)
A: Programs can access the updated survey and assessment tools in their program record at program.naeyc.org or on the Self-Assessment tools CD-Rom. You may verify you are using the correct surveys by ensuring they have the 2006 copyright date.

Q17: Is my program required to complete the Individual Classroom Tour for Self-Assessment? (Jan. 2007)
Programs are not required to do the Individual Classroom Tour for Self-Assessment. However, programs may find it helpful to complete it in self-study and later in Self-Assessment to aid them in completing the Program Tour.

Q18: Who is responsible for conducting the Program Wide Tour? (Jan. 2007)
The program can make a decision on who is the appropriate individual to conduct the Program Tour.

Q19: I have enrolled and applied as a multi-site program. How many program portfolios should we create? (Jan. 2007)
If you are a multi-site and pursing NAEYC Accreditation as one program, you should only have one program portfolio.

Q20:  May I fax my application or submit it online?  (May 2007)
No, NAEYC requires that applications and full payment be submitted to NAEYC by mail to the appropriate post office box.  A program may not submit an application online nor fax the application.

If you wish to receive written confirmation that your form and payment has been received at our P.O. Box, please request at the Post Office that your item be mailed with a Return Receipt.  You may choose Regular mail Return Receipt or Certified Mail Return Receipt. 

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STEP 3. CANDIDACY, INCLUDING QUESTIONS ON STAFF QUALIFICATIONS

Q1: Several of the assistant teachers in my program meet one of the candidacy requirements for educational qualifications for teachers, but do not have a CDA or are not working toward it or another ECE degree. Do their qualifications count toward candidacy?
Yes. If an assistant meets any of the candidacy requirements for educational qualifications for teachers, she/he has met the candidacy requirements for educational qualifications for assistant teachers or teacher aides.

Q2: If a teacher has a CDA with a specialization in Infants and Toddlers but is teaching a group of preschoolers, does she meet the staff qualification for a CDA?
It is correct that only a CDA is specified. Ideally, the teacher should have the credential for the specific age group she/he is teaching (preschool or infant/toddler) but this is not required for inclusion in the percentage of teachers who meet the criterion for staff qualifications (6.A.05) or the candidacy requirements.

Q3: With the new educational qualifications for teachers, would a teacher who has completed her CDA and let it expire qualify under the criteria, or would the teacher need to complete the CDA process again?
A current CDA is required to meet the staff qualifications criteria. Please check with the Council for Professional Recognition at www.cdacouncil.org for further information.

Q4: If my local University offers 12 college credits in ECE to individuals who have successfully completed our state CDA training program does that mean it is accepted by NAEYC? (Jan. 2007)
NAEYC Academy does not “accept” any other credential besides the National CDA. Program staff must either have a National CDA or provide documentation of 12 college credits in early childhood education, child development, elementary education or early childhood special education that encompasses the following: child development and learning of children birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning; and professional practices and development. The description of these 12 college credits is the ONLY defined equivalent.

If a local University/State College offers a minimum of 12 college credits towards a degree for successful completion of the state CDA or some other training program then the training program would meet the equivalency. However, individuals who earn this state credential or other training program MUST provide documentation of 12 college credits OR show that there is a University/State College that grants at least 12 college credits towards the work they have done. For more information on the National CDA you may contact the Council for Professional Recognition at 1-800-424-4310.

Q5: When the number of staff does not factor evenly with the percentage, i.e. if 75% of my teachers need to have a BA, yet I have 5 teachers - will NAEYC look for the program to round up (slightly greater than 75%) or allow to round down (less than 75%)? (Jan. 2007)
The program should always round up, in order to have 75% of the teachers meet the Candidacy Requirements.

Q6: For programs who expire in 2007, do they need to meet the teacher qualifications for 2006 or 2010?
The qualifications for 2010 do not go into effect until 2010, so programs expiring sooner would meet the 2006 qualifications. The 2006 qualifications are in effect until 2010, the 2010 qualifications are in effect until 2015, etc.

Q7: How do you count clock hour workshops toward college credits?
The determination of whether workshops count toward college credits is determined by a specific institution of higher education, not by NAEYC.

Q8: Which state director credentials are approved by NAEYC?
NAEYC will recognize state director credentials that include either 9 college credits or 144 clock hours. The credits and/or clock hours must be inclusive of both management/leadership and early childhood education training. The list of approved credentials is posted at Approved State Director/Administrator Credentials Recognized in Lieu of Relevant Training and Experience.   

Q9: When do programs learn what they must submit as evidence in their Program Self Assessment Report? Will all programs be asked to submit the same evidence?
Programs will receive the form to complete their Program Self Assessment Report from the NAEYC Academy approximately eight weeks prior to the candidacy due date they specified in their Application for NAEYC Accreditation. The form includes a request for evidence that asks programs to provide specific evidence that each standard is met, based on the results of their self-assessment process. The request for evidence will vary from program to program. A sample of the Candidacy Materials is located in the Guide to Self-Assessment which is posted in the program record (www.program.naeyc.org) for currently accredited programs and programs. Click here to review a sample of the Candidacy Materials.

Q10: What happens if a program has staffing changes after they are accepted as a Candidate?
In order for the on-site visit to occur the program must continue to meet all eligibility and candidacy requirements. If the program no longer meets the Candidacy requirements they are not eligible to receive an on-site visit and Candidacy will be denied.

Q11: Previously, the forms/reporting of staffing patterns has been cumbersome and awkward! I didn’t see this “form” anywhere. What is the new format?
The Program Self Assessment Report will request information on staff qualifications and staffing patterns. It will be provided to programs as part of their candidacy materials. While it still requires a great deal of information, the NAEYC Academy is working on improving the program records so that only changes will need to be entered.

Q12: The teacher definition says “include individuals who have primary responsibility for a group of children.” This seems to encourage only lead teachers.
The NAEYC Criteria consider two teaching roles: teacher—the individual who has primary responsibility for leading the group of children and assistant teacher or teacher aide who work under the teacher’s supervision. Many of the criteria refer to teaching staff in which teachers and assistant teachers/teacher aides are jointly responsible for their implementation. Other criteria specifically reference the teacher’s responsibilities. Individuals who carry out the responsibilities of teacher should meet the teacher qualifications. If two individuals equally share primary responsibility, both are considered teachers.

Q13: If my program has 6 teachers, and 4 in preschool meet qualifications and 2 in toddler classrooms do not, does my program meet the criteria?
It’s important to distinguish the candidacy requirements from the criteria regarding staff qualifications. In order for a program to be accepted as a Candidate for NAEYC Accreditation, it must meet all candidacy requirements, including specific requirements for teachers, assistant teachers/aides, and the program administrator. (See Candidacy requirements on page 93 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria or page 39 of Getting Started in the Self-Study Kit.) For teachers, 75% of the program teachers must meet one of the alternatives listed. For a program with 6 teachers, this means that 5 teachers must meet one of the alternatives.

To meet the criterion for staff qualifications (6.A.06) from 2006 to 2010, all teachers must (1) have a CDA or higher; (2) at least 25% of the teachers are working on an associate’s degree in early childhood education or child development or a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education or early childhood special education that encompasses child development and learning of children birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning; and professional practices and development.

Q14: For the Candidacy requirements it states that if we don't meet the criteria for staff qualifications for teachers and/or assistant teachers, we need to provide a professional development plan that ensures early childhood expertise is being provided to guide curriculum and learning. What does this look like? (Jan. 2007)
This plan may look different for every program but typically the plans include information that may include a comprehensive and systematic inservice describing a series of learning experiences that address each topic identified within the Teachers standard, document available resources (experts and/or materials) that reflect current knowledge of a particular topic, and/or discuss how the teaching staff is assisted in linking theory and research to practice.

Q15: What is recognized as a regionally accredited institution of higher education?
The U.S. Department of Education maintains a listing of recognized accredited institutions of higher education at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation. NAEYC refers to this list to determine if an institution is regionally accredited.

Q16: What if I received my degree outside the United States?
International degrees must be verified through a process of matching US equivalent degrees. This is a technical procedure that requires use of a company that specializes in this area or, verification by a US institution of higher education that the degree is equivalent to a degree offered at the institution.

The Academy expects that all staff transcripts used to meet qualifications either be from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or be accompanied by an evaluation and verification of US equivalencies.

Q17: Is there a timeline for assistant teachers to meet the qualifications outlined in Criterion 6.A.06?
No. The timeline applies only to teachers.

Q18: What happens if there are staff changes between the time a program submits its application and the time that candidacy materials are submitted or when the on-site assessment visit occurs?
Programs are responsible for updating information regarding staff qualifications when submitting their candidacy materials and for the on-site assessment. The criteria reflect the qualifications for the teaching staff as a whole. New staff should be recruited with the same or better qualifications as the staff to be replaced.

Q19: Does our state apprenticeship program count toward teacher qualifications? It requires 4000 contact hours and 18 college credits related to early childhood education.
A minimum of 12 college credits (semester hours) in early childhood education are required to meet the teacher qualification so an apprenticeship requiring 18 credits or semester hours would meet this requirement.

Q20: Are there alternative pathways for meeting the teacher and assistant teacher qualification requirements?
Acceptable alternatives are spelled out within the criterion.

Q21: When considering the alternative pathways chart for program administrators, can courses counted under formal education also count for relevant training and credentials?
No. Coursework considered as part of formal education should not be counted again as part of the relevant training and credentials.

Q22: If you have experience as an early childhood coordinator but have never had experience evaluating staff or in fiscal management, does it count for experience in the alternative pathway?
Experiences need to reflect the combination of early childhood education, leadership and program management.

Q23: Does experience as an assistant director apply for work experience on the Alternative Pathways table?
Yes. Program management experience as an assistant director can be counted.

Q24: What are the qualification requirements for assistant directors or other management staff?
The criteria require specific qualifications for the designated program administrator only. Other staff should have qualifications appropriate for their job responsibilities.

Q25: Some of my teaching staff are unlikely to return to school. Can we still apply for accreditation?
The candidacy requirements are based on the teaching staff as a whole and do not require all teachers or all assistants to individually meet the qualifications (75% of teachers and 50% of assistant teachers must meet the candidacy qualifications; see page 94 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria or page 39 of Getting Started in the Self-Study Kit). Programs must meet the candidacy requirements to become NAEYC Accredited. The criteria regarding teacher qualifications and assistant qualifications are not required criteria, so programs may achieve accreditation without meeting these criteria so long as they do meet 80% of the criteria on which they are assessed within each standard.

Q26:  How do individuals who took courses several years ago verify that the content of their coursework counts towards NAEYC Accreditation?  (May 2007)
Courses count regardless of when they were taken, but only if they meet the following requirements:  The course is credit-bearing, and in early childhood education, child development, elementary education or early childhood special education that encompass the following: child development and learning of children birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning; and professional practices and development.  If a course title/name does not describe the course well, it is the responsibility of the individual or program to provide a copy of the course description.  This is not frequently required unless a course title is very unclear.

Q27:  What type of documentation is required for teaching staff who are “working on” the next level of their education, whether that is a National CDA, associate or baccalaureate degree?  (May 2007)
To demonstrate that a teacher is "working on" a National CDA or degree, a program must document that the teacher is:

Documentation can include any of the following, dated up to one year prior to the program’s Candidacy due date:

Documentation can not solely be a letter from the program seeking Candidacy or the individual staff member stating intent to "work on" a degree.

Q28: Does the information submitted as part of the request for evidence in the Program Self Assessment Report need to be within the current school year or can evidence documented in the late spring be submitted in the fall?
NAEYC Accreditation is designed to assess a program’s ability to sustain quality over time, not within a particular school year. Evidence is considered current if collected or documented within the past 12 months.

Q29: If a program administrator has taught leadership and management courses at an accredited college, does that count as program management experience?
Yes, documentation of teaching leadership and management courses at an accredited college can be used to meet the requirements for knowledge and experience in early childhood program leadership and management.

Q30: How will programs that rely on parents (for example, parent co-ops) or college work study or practicum students to meet teacher-child ratios meet the staff qualifications?
Assistant teachers are defined as adults who work under the direct supervision of a teacher. If counted toward meeting ratios for the purposes of NAEYC Accreditation, staff are considered as assistant teachers and are included in determining whether candidacy requirements or the staff qualifications criterion are met. If they are not counted toward the ratio and group size because they are volunteers, their actions may be considered relative to observable criteria within a classroom but they are not included as members of the teaching staff in determining if staff qualifications for candidacy or the criteria are met. Programs are not required to meet the ratios and group size criterion nor the teaching staff qualifications criteria to become accredited as long as they can meet each program standard.

Q31: What is the distinction between teaching staff and program staff in some criteria?
Teaching staff are defined as those individuals who work directly with children in child care, preschool, or kindergarten programs, including teachers who have primary responsibility for a group of children, and assistant teachers or teacher aides who work under the direct supervision of a teacher. Program staff includes other staff including the administrative staff, education coordinators, family support coordinators, or other specialists who may interact with teaching staff, children, and families. The criteria address qualifications only for teachers, assistant teachers, and the program administrator.

Q32: I am a director with a baccalaureate degree in ECE, am on-site but not assigned to any particular class. Does this satisfy the need for teachers with a baccalaureate degree?
Only teachers who have primary responsibility for a group of children are considered as to whether the teacher qualifications are met.

Q33: In our infant/toddler room, areas are divided by shelves and partitions, and the age groups are divided. Is a teacher needed for each area, or can one teacher oversee the whole room?
A group or classroom refers to the number of children who are assigned for most of the day to a teacher or team of teaching staff and who occupy an individual classroom or well defined space that prevents intermingling of children from different groups within a larger room or area. The teacher is the person with primary responsibility for a group of children. Ratios and group size are determined for each classroom or group. In this example, if the group is divided without intermingling, it is considered two groups and two teachers would be required.

Q34: If a teacher has a degree in psychology, are 12 semester hours in child development or early childhood education, or early childhood special education still required?
Yes.

Q35: Can the Program Administrator work part time in a full-time (full-day) program?
As stated in Criterion 10.A.04, when a program has a total enrollment of fewer than 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) children, employs fewer than eight FTE staff, or both, a program may have a part-time administrator.

Q36: What if two people share administrative responsibilities? Can one person meet the requirements for early childhood expertise and another meet the requirements for administration and leadership?
This is addressed in the note to Criterion 10.A.04. When two or more people share administrative responsibilities, at least one person must meet the qualifications detailed in criterion 10.A.02 which requires meeting the specified educational requirements, having a plan in place to meet these qualifications within five years, meeting the alternative pathway for the educational qualifications of the administrator (see Tables 4 and 5, pages 94-95 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria, or pages 39-40 of Getting Started in the Self-Study Kit).

Q37: Should programs complete their Portfolios by their Candidacy due date? (Jan. 2007)
Yes. Programs should have completed their Self-Assessment by the time they complete and submit their Candidacy Materials.

Q38: How long does it take for a program to receive a decision on their Candidacy status? (July 2007)
After Candidacy materials are submitted with applicable fees, they will be reviewed by Academy staff.  The length of time required to review Candidacy Materials varies based on the program information submitted and its completeness.  The Candidacy decision and the Site visit (if Candidacy is approved), will occur within the six months after the Candidacy due date.

Q39: If my program is denied Candidacy, what options will we have? (Jan. 2007)
If a program is denied Candidacy, it may be offered the opportunity for a second Candidacy review. Programs that are offered this opportunity must notify the Academy within 30 days of receiving the “Options after Denial of Candidacy for Program” form that this option is being selected. Once this request is received by the Academy, the Academy will automatically move the program to the next available Candidacy due date. Programs must then complete a new set of Candidacy Materials (received from the NAEYC Academy eight weeks prior to the new Candidacy due date) and submit for a second review by the new Candidacy due date to document how it meets the Candidacy Requirements along with a second Candidacy Review fee. (This fee varies based on level, for example a Level 1 is $200 and it increases in increments of $50 by level.) Programs that are not pursuing a second Candidacy review may chose to become an Applicant again at a later date. These programs will receive a refund of their Candidacy fee minus the review fee. The programs will not need to re-enroll (prior to 2011), but will begin the accreditation process by submitting a new Application when ready.

Q40: My program is currently NAEYC Accredited. If my program is denied Candidacy and chooses to re-submit Candidacy Materials on the next Candidacy due date (Option 1- Second Candidacy Material Review), will my program's accreditation lapse? (Sept. 2007)
It depends on the reason why Candidacy was denied.

If Candidacy is denied solely on Administrator, Teacher and /or Assistant Teacher qualifications, then the program will receive an extension of their NAEYC Accreditation while its Candidacy Materials go through the second review. If the program is accepted as a Candidate after the second review, the program will receive an additional extension of NAEYC Accreditation until the new accreditation decision is completed. If the program is denied candidacy after the second review, the program's NAEYC Accreditation will lapse and expire.

If Candidacy is denied due to licensing/regulatory issues or on the basis of any information that could jeopardize the health and safety of children enrolled at the program, then the program will not receive an extension, and their NAEYC Accreditation will expire.

Q41: Will the Academy inform programs why they were denied Candidacy? (Jan. 2007)
Yes, the programs will be informed of the reasons why Candidacy was denied.

Q42: Can a program’s failure to meet one criterion prevent them from becoming a Candidate? (Jan. 2007)
No, programs would have to demonstrate that an overwhelming number of criteria are not met and/or Candidacy Requirements are not met.

Q43:  If programs use a P.O. box to receive materials, and the NAEYC Academy is not shipping candidacy materials to P.O. boxes, then how will these programs receive their Candidacy materials? (May 2007)
The NAEYC Academy provides all programs with their candidacy materials electronically by posting them in their program record at www.program.naeyc.org. Please take a moment to go to this site to make sure that you have an accurate password and can enter it.  If you cannot, follow instructions on the site itself to receive your password.

Q44:  Do the criteria that cite classroom observations and the tour as the sources of evidence have to be documented somewhere or will they be assessed by the assessors on the day of the on-site visit? (May 2007)
Criteria that only list classroom observation and/or tour as a source of evidence should be documented on your completed observation and/or tour tools.  However, if more than one source of evidence is listed, then the documentation should appear in all relevant sources.  For example, if a criteria lists observation and the classroom portfolio as sources of evidence, then documentation must appear in both the classroom observation tool and the classroom portfolio.  A sample of all criteria will be assessed on the day of the visit by the assessor.

Q45:  I just read my Candidacy Materials that ask for no coding of surveys.  I coded my family surveys to increase the return rate but kept the list confidential.  When the survey was returned my assistant gave me the number to check off but I never looked at the results of the survey next to the name it was distributed to.  Do I need to do the surveys over again? (May 2007)
While the Candidacy Materials ask that surveys are anonymous and confidential, if some sort of coding is used solely for the purpose of increasing the return rate and that the identity of the respondents is not used for any other purpose, the surveys will be accepted and NAEYC will not require that they be completed again.

Q46:  My program will be closed during our candidacy due date (for the summer/winter vacation, the director will be away, etc.). May I receive my candidacy materials sooner than 8 weeks prior to my candidacy due date?  (May 2007)
A Program’s actual Candidacy materials are only available 8 weeks prior.  However, you may review a SAMPLE of the candidacy materials on the web.

One of the tasks you can begin in advance is gathering all of the documentation for meeting the Administrator, Teacher and Teacher Assistant requirements for candidacy.  This may include copies of any national CDA’s (must be awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition, see www.cdacouncil.org for more details), degrees, transcripts, and/or enrollment forms for the CDA or associate, bachelor, or master degree programs in early childhood or a related field used to document candidacy requirements for your staff.  The other portion (Program Self Assessment Report) should not be too time consuming because it simply asks you to pull the information you have already gathered in your formal self-assessment and report on it for one topic area per standard.

Q47:  May continuing education units be counted toward gaining college hours that would be equivalent to a CDA?  Is there a specific time period in which these CEU’s would need to be earned, for example, during the past three years? (May 2007)
If an individual can provide documentation from a specific college or university that the professional development training is the equivalent to and could be awarded college credits/ semester hours that encompass the following:  “child development and learning of children birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning; and professional practices and development” (NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria, page 97), then NAEYC accepts the training as college credits that can be used towards an equivalent to the CDA or Associate/Bachelor degrees in ECE/CD.  If a college or university would grant credits for the CEU’s earned during a specific time period, then the NAEYC Academy would recognize those credits (even if the individual is not enrolled in the college or university to receive the credit).

Q48:  What if my program did not submit their candidacy materials and/or fee by the candidacy due date?  (May 2007)
The program will be withdrawn as an Applicant for NAEYC Accreditation if they do not submit their materials and fee by the deadline they selected in their application.  If withdrawn, a program may re-apply by submitting a new application and fee. 

Q49:  Is there a limit to the number of pages to be included in the Candidacy materials packet? (May 2007)
A program may need to include more pages based on the number of groups, teachers, evidence for staff qualifications, etc.  As explained in the candidacy materials instructions, please do not include additional information that is not requested and do not exceed space limitations.

Q50:  How often should we update our Program Portfolio?  What is considered current? (May 2007)
Evidence is current if it reflects a policy, practice, or document that is in effect or has been collected (or documented) within 12 months of the program’s Candidacy deadline.  The evidence itself may be older than 12 months if it reflects a current practice.  For example, if the Parent Handbook older than 12 months still has the current policies, practicies, etc. because no changes have been made in the last 12 months, then sections of this older Parent Handbook may be used to document evidence in the Program Portfolio. 

Q51:  How often should we update our Classroom Portfolios?  What is considered current? (May 2007)
Evidence is current if it reflects a policy, practice, or document that is in effect or has been collected (or documented) within 12 months of the program’s Candidacy deadline.  The evidence itself may be older than 12 months if it reflects a current practice.  For example, if a garden is planted each spring (with activities planned to support criteria in math and science), a photograph more than 12 months old is still considered current evidence because the activity is planned and implemented annually.

Q52:  Our program has a morning group and an afternoon group that uses the same curriculum, classroom space and daily activities although the children are different from morning to afternoon.   For some groups, the teachers are the same between morning and afternoon, but in other groups, the teachers are different.  Can we complete one classroom portfolio that covers both groups or must we complete a classroom portfolio for each group?  (May 2007)
The Classroom Portfolio documents classroom practices and events to provide current evidence of the implementation of the program standards and accreditation criteria.  The Classroom Portfolio supplements the classroom observation and documents capacity to perform the criteria over time.  In most instances, it is expected that the Classroom Portfolio will be developed for a specific classroom or group by the teaching team responsible for that group.  However, when the responsibility for planning and implementing classroom activities is shared among several teaching teams for multiple groups of children, a single portfolio may be used to document the evidence for each of the groups included in the shared planning and implementation.

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STEP 4. MEETING THE STANDARDS/ACCREDITATION DECISION

Q1: Do programs need to meet every indicator under a criterion in order to get credit for meeting that criterion (unless an emerging practice)?
Yes, programs must meet each indicator to meet a criterion.

Q2: For confidentiality reasons, if a piece of evidence is not available for assessor’s review during the on-site visit, what procedures should my program follow to demonstrate compliance with criteria? (Jan. 2007)
Programs are required to provide evidence for meeting the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria for on-site review by assessors. In some instances, the evidence may be stored off-site or contain confidential information that can not be viewed by assessors. If a program is unable to have all the necessary evidence available for the assessor during the on-site assessment a Notarized letter must be provided. The notarized letter must:

For a sample letter click here.

Q3: Our center is adding an additional room in the fall of 2006 for 6- to 18-month-olds. We currently have a room for 9- to 29-month-olds. How long do we need to be in the new room before the on-site assessment?
The program must be operational for one year before the program may become a candidate. This one year rule does not apply to an individual classroom. The Academy must be notified of any changes in the number of classrooms that occur prior to a visit, to ensure that the appropriate number of assessors are available and prepared to conduct the visit.

Q4: What are the “Always Assessed” criteria?
The Always Assessed criteria are noted in each of the standard books where the criteria are listed. The different types of criteria are defined in each Standard book (for example in Assessment of Child Progress, page 12).

Q5: Do we have to use a specific published tool to meet the assessment of child progress criteria or can we create our own?
Programs are not required to purchase published instruments to meet the assessment standard. (Note the “IF” at the beginning of Criterion 4.B.04.) Criterion 4.B.05 specifies the necessary characteristics of staff-developed assessment tools. Assessment strategies that are developed by individual teachers should be consistent with the program's overall written assessment plan. Screening tools must meet professional standards for standardization, reliability and validity (4.C.01). This is an Emerging Practice criterion, and programs will not initially be penalized if they do not meet it. Additionally, program staff may work with other agencies to arrange for screening rather than conduct it themselves.

Q6: How do criteria that are not applicable to my program (for example, criteria regarding transportation vehicles, which we do not have) figure into the 80% calculation? Are we expected to meet 80% of the criteria on which we are assessed, or 80% of all criteria.
The program must meet 80% of the criteria on which they are assessed (for each standard.) If a criterion or indicator is not applicable to a program, it will neither help nor hurt the program when determining whether the standard or criterion is met.

Q7: If my program must meet 80% of the criteria assessed for each Standard to be accredited, is it also 70% for each Standard for each classroom that is assessed?
Programs will need to meet 80% of the criteria assessed within each Standard. They will also need to meet at least 70% of all the criteria assessed in each classroom. Because some Standards are primarily program wide and only a small number of criteria are addressed in a classroom, the 70% is assessed across all standards.

Q8: Is each criterion under each standard of equal weight in determining 80% compliance?
The 80% compliance is determined by the number of criteria within each standard on which a program is assessed. Each criterion is weighted equally within that group (met or not met.) However, some criteria have multiple indicators that are considered to determine whether the criterion is met.

Q9: Will the format of not met/partially met/fully met still be used in scoring the criteria?
No. Under the new system, each criterion has specific indicators that are used to determine if it is met. When there are multiple indicators, they are denoted by checkboxes in the standards books included in the Self-Study Kit. If there are no checkboxes, the criterion includes only one indicator—the criterion itself.

Q10: My program has one group of infants, one group of 2s, one group of 3s, one group of 4s, and one group of kindergartners. Will each class be assessed at the time of the on-site visit?
Each age group must be assessed. For this example, there is one group of Infants, one group of Toddler/Twos, 2 groups of Preschoolers (3s and 4s), and one group of Kindergartners, so 4 out of the 5 classrooms would be assessed.

Q11: What is the length of a classroom observation during an on-site visit? (Jan. 2007)
A classroom is observed for 1 hour during the on-site visit.

Q12: What opportunities will programs have to provide feedback to NAEYC regarding the assessor’s visit?
Programs will be asked to provide specific information regarding the visit.

Q13: What is the difference between Required criteria and Always Assessed criteria?
Required criteria are always assessed but unlike the other always assessed criteria, required criteria must be met in order for a program to become NAEYC Accredited.

Q14: Will teachers be interviewed for “non-observed” criteria?
Assessors will have a standard protocol to follow that will include direct classroom observations and a review of the classroom portfolio. Assessors may ask teachers specific questions for clarification purposes, but not to collect information about criteria that were not observed or documented in the classroom portfolio.

Q15: Are the same group of randomly assessed criteria used for each age group within a program or do different age groups receive different sets of randomly assessed criteria?
Because this is a program accreditation system, there is one set of randomly assessed criteria for an individual program. Some of these criteria may be specific to individual age groups and so would only be assessed as appropriate.

Q16: We are investigating the possibility of accreditation of our preschool-age childcare program. While we have wonderful facilities, we are currently limited to a maximum capacity of 25 preschoolers (ages 33 months to 5 years). A challenge for us in becoming accredited is the limitation on the numbers of 3 year olds that we have in our program. Can you explain?
In a mixed-age preschool class of 2.5-year-olds to 5-year-olds, no more than four (4) children between the ages of 30 months and 36 months may be enrolled (this is a technical correction from the original printing that stated 2 children.) The rationale for limiting the number of younger children reflects the greater demands for attention and supervision of younger children. In a program with a multi-age group of children from 30 months to 60 months (5 years), the number of children between 30 and 36 months is limited to provide for adequate supervision. If not, the group size and ratio criterion is not met. Since this is not a required criterion, programs may become accredited without meeting this criterion as long as they meet 80% of the criteria on which they are assessed for each program standard. Ratios and group sizes for specific age groups can be found in Table 2, page 83 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria or Table 1, page 27 of Getting Started in the Self-Study Kit.

Q17: Kindergarten and first-grade children are a mixed age group in my program. Will the assessor only observe the Kindergarten children or do these children have to be separated out?
Mixed age groups with school-age children will only be observed when at least half of the children in the group are kindergarten age. In these cases, the entire group is observed using the Kindergarten criteria.

Q18: If my program does not meet a required criterion at the time of the visit will I be informed by the assessor during the visit that we are not in compliance with a required criterion? (Jan. 2007)
Yes, if a program does not meet a required criterion during the on-site visit, the assessor will document it and discuss the evidence gathered with the program administrator during the closing meeting. The administrator has the opportunity to provide additional information.

Q19: Will programs who receive their visit after their expiration date maintain their accredited status until they receive a new decision? (Jan. 2007)
Yes, if they meet the Application and Candidacy deadlines established by the Academy and if they are reaccredited, they will receive a new 5 year accreditation term.

Q20: How long after our visit will our program receive notification of the accreditation decision?
Programs will receive their accreditation decision within 3 months of the date of their on-site visit.

Q21: Who makes the actual decision regarding the accreditation—assessors or the Commission as has been the case?
Assessors will be trained to consistently and reliably conduct assessments of program quality. They will not make the accreditation decision. They will submit the results of the assessment to the Academy where these results will be reviewed by staff for procedural accuracy. The Council for NAEYC Accreditation, an independent group appointed by the NAEYC Governing Board, establishes the policies that guide the actual decision making and handles the appeals process. (Click here for more information on the Appeals process.) To be accredited, a program must meet 80% of the criteria on which it is assessed for each standard, with no individual classroom falling below 70% of the criteria met for each standard, and meet specific required criteria.

Q22: Who oversees the accreditation decision process? (Jan. 2007)
The Council for NAEYC Accreditation oversees the accreditation decision process. This will be accomplished by:

Requiring the NAEYC Academy to report the NAEYC Council trends, related to accreditation decisions including but not limited to:

Q25: Can a program appeal the decision if they get “Deferred” or “Denied”? (Jan. 2007)
Yes, programs can appeal the decision. Appeals are made to the Council for NAEYC Accreditation. (click here for more information on the Appeals process.)

Q26: What options are available to go through the appeals’ process? (Jan. 2007)
Appeals’ process is limited to identifying procedural errors. (Click here for more information on the Appeals process.)

Q27:  How many children must be present in a classroom/group in order for an assessor to complete an observation? (May 2007)
There is no minimum. The choice of classrooms to be observed is entirely based on randomization. 

Q28:  I have been accepted as a Candidate, when will I be contacted to discuss our visit? (May 2007)
A: Your program will be contacted by an assessor. The assessor will set up a scheduling window in which your visit will occur. You will also provide the assessor with Exclusion Days when your program not be available for a visit.  A program receives two (2) Exclusion days per month based on the length of the scheduling window provided. Any major religious holidays your program observes should be conveyed to the assessor, but will not count as exclusion days.  Visits will not be scheduled on Federal holidays.

Q29:  If there are changes in my program, how should I inform the NAEYC Academy? (May 2007)
A: If your program has any changes while you are waiting for your Candidacy Decision or between the acceptance of Candidacy and your assessor’s first contact with you, please call NAEYC’s Information Center [dial (800) 424-2460 and select option 3] to inform the NAEYC Academy of that change. When your assessor contacts your program to schedule your visit they will verify any changes in the program. The assessor may ask for additional documentation if there are changes in the program since Candidacy. After programs have spoken to their assessor, any additional changes should be shared with the assessor.

Q30:  Will the assessor review my program's Classroom Observation and Tour Tool? (May 2007)
The assessor will not review the Classroom Observation and Tour forms conducted by the program. The data collected on these forms will be used by the program during the formal self-assessment and when completing its Candidacy Materials.

Q31: Will the program administrator have a chance to meet with the assessor on the day of the on-site assessment? (May 2007)
Yes, there will be an orientation with the administrator on the day of the visit before the assessment is conducted. There will also be a closing meeting once the assessment is complete.

Q32:  What will take place at the Orientation and Closing meetings during the on-site assessment? (May 2007)
During the orientation, the program administrator is given the schedule for the day, will be requested to indicate a private location for the assessor to review the program portfolio and classroom portfolios, will observe the selection of staff and child files, will verify staff pattern and groups, and will be expected to update the assessor on any staff changes that have been made.  If new staff members have been added, the program administrator must provide documentation for each staff member that would have been included at Candidacy regarding education, training, experience and First Aid/CPR certification.

The closing meeting is an opportunity for the program administrator to verify that assessors completed all data collection processes as expected.  The program administrator will also be provided with any Required Criteria or Candidacy Requirements that were documented as not met.  The assessor and program administrator will not discuss additional assessment tools and criteria.  The program administrator will also receive an assessor evaluation and is asked to return this directly to the NAEYC Academy within 3 days of the visit.

Q33:  We have been granted NAEYC Accreditation and want to develop materials with the logo and issue a press release.  Where can I access these materials? (May 2007)
To access this new information, please visit the online program record site at
www://program.naeyc.org.  The first step is to enter your Login ID. (Your Login ID is your Program ID.)  Then you will be asked to enter your Password. If this is the first time you’ve logged in, your Password is "Program". If you have logged in previously, please use the Password you created, or click "Forgot your password?" to have your Password emailed to you.  Click on Accreditation Resources on the left hand side and you will find:

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MAINTAINING YOUR ACCREDITATION/ANNUAL REPORT

Q1: What is the policy on Annual Reports?
As of January 1, 2005, the NAEYC Academy requires every accredited program to file an Annual Report each year, beginning on the first anniversary of a program's accreditation, (refer to your accreditation certificate for this date). Over the course of the five-year term of NAEYC Accreditation, every program will file four annual reports.

There is no Annual Report due on the 5th anniversary because the program is either in the process of reaccreditation or their accreditation term expires on the 5th anniversary.

Q2: Why are programs required to submit Annual Reports?
The process of continuous improvement is a hallmark of accreditation systems, and this is one mechanism for programs to continue to reflect on their practice and report it to the Academy.  The submission of Annual Reports also reassures families, employers and others that they can rely on NAEYC's accreditation system because the reports are used to ensure that all programs are high quality, and are continuing to meet NAEYC standards and accreditation criteria.

Q3: Where may I locate a copy of the Annual Report? (August 2007)
A copy of the Annual Report form is located on the NAEYC website. Click here for a copy. 

Q4: When can I submit the Annual Report?
NAEYC accredited programs are required to submit Annual Reports on the first, second, third, and fourth anniversary of accreditation (refer to your accreditation certificate for the correct anniversary date).  The NAEYC Academy will not accept Annual Reports more than two (2) calendar months prior to the anniversary of accreditation and no later than two (2) calendar months after the anniversary date.  

Q5: What version of the Annual Report should I submit? (August 2007)
The Annual Report form has been revised to address the new standards and criteria, which apply to all accredited programs effective September 16, 2006.  All programs must use this revised version, which relates to the standards and criteria released in 2005. The NAEYC Academy will no longer accept the Annual Report form that addresses the 1998 edition of the criteria.  Please be careful to submit the most updated annual report, dated January 5, 2007 (located on the lower left of each page beginning with page 2 of the report).  Click here for the annual report form.

Q6: What references will I need in order to complete the Annual Report form? (August 2007)
In order to complete the Annual Report form, programs will need to refer to the NAEYC Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria.  These are available in a variety of ways:  on the NAEYC website at http://www.naeyc.org/academy; in the publication titled NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria; or in the NAEYC Self Study Kit.

Q7: Do we need to cross-reference criteria from the old system? (August 2007) 
Some programs that were accredited under the 1998 criteria have asked whether they need to take the criteria cited in their Commission Decision Report from the old system and determine what these criteria would be in the new system.  You do NOT need to do this.

If your program was accredited under the 1998 criteria and you want to respond to a Commission Decision Report, you MAY choose to cross-reference the old criteria to the new system, but you are NOT required to do this.  Cross-referencing the criteria would involve a great deal of work, and many programs are choosing to respond to their Commission Decision Reports by focusing only on the new Accreditation Program Standards and Criteria.

Q8: How do I submit an Annual Report? (August 2007)
To submit the Annual Report, download the form and mail the completed form and the applicable Annual Report fee to:

NAEYC Annual Report
PO Box 96037
Washington, DC 20090-6037

NAEYC will accept Annual Reports through e-mail (annualreport@naeyc.org) if a credit card payment is included.  Programs paying with other forms of payment will not be eligible to submit via e-mail.  Faxed Annual Reports will not be accepted.  The postmark date of the Annual Report is considered the submission date.

If you wish to receive written confirmation that your annual report has been received at our P.O. Box, please request at the Post Office that your item be mailed with a Return Receipt.  You may choose Regular mail Return Receipt or Certified Mail Return Receipt. 

Q9: What happens if a program fails to submit an annual report?
Failure to submit an Annual Report will be grounds for withdrawal. This is why the NAEYC Academy has developed a reminder system to ensure programs are successful in submitting their Annual Report.

Q10: What happens if the report indicates significant changes in the program?
A report indicating significant changes in the program (per existing NAEYC verification of continued program compliance policy) will be reviewed in the context of how the program is continuing to meet the NAEYC Standards and Accreditation criteria. NAEYC will determine if additional verification is needed.  A report indicating significant changes may be grounds for further verification; this may include a telephone interview, request for additional documentation or on-site visit.

Significant changes include but are not limited to, change of licensing status, staff turnover, change of location, change of ownership, expansion of numbers of groups, and fluctuations in enrollment. 

Q11: What happens if a program altering change occurs during a time of the year when the Annual Report is not due?
Programs are required to report to NAEYC within 90 days any program altering changes including, but not limited to, changes in licensing/regulatory status, location/physical facility, ownership, program governance, age groups being served, and program court orders.  For more information about these Self-Reports, please click here.

Q12:  May I e-mail my annual report? (May 2007)
If you are paying for your annual report fee with a credit card, then you may submit your annual report by e-mailing it to annualreport@naeyc.org.

Q13:  Why can’t a program submit their Annaul Report immediately after they get accredited, rather than waiting for the anniversary? (May 2007)
The purpose of the annual report is to learn how a program has changed and continued to improve over the past year.  Therefore, all accredited programs are required to submit an Annual Report on their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th anniversaries of NAEYC Accreditation. 

Q14:  If my program decides to pursue NAEYC Accreditation early do I still have to submit the 4th anniversary annual report and fee? (May 2007)
All programs are required to submit an annual report and fee on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th anniversaries of NAEYC Accreditation.  Depending on the timing if Candidacy Materials have already been submitted the NAEYC Academy may be able to review those materials and waive the Annual Report but the fee is still required, since the fees are amortized over the entire 5-year term.  NAEYC is exploring the fee structure for programs going through reaccreditation, once all currently accredited programs have enrolled under the new system, in an effort to simplify the fee structure.

Q15: What was the exact language of the Council's policy on maintaining Candidacy Requirements?
The Council set forth the following policy on meeting and maintaining candidacy requirements during the term of NAEYC Accreditation.

Q16: Where can I find information related to this policy within the NAEYC Accreditation process?
While developing the policy, the Council also identified the following specific language in the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria book, which is found in the self-study kit:

NAEYC has created candidacy requirements that allow some flexibility with respect to the NAEYC Accreditation Criteria on qualifications for teaching staff while establishing a minimum requirement for programs seeking to become Candidates for Accreditation (page 86).

 Q17: What happens to a program with staff changes that prevent them from meeting the candidacy requirements? Does their NAEYC Accreditation get revoked immediately? 
No. As mentioned in the Council's policy, programs accredited AFTER September 15, 2006 should meet and maintain candidacy requirements throughout their NAEYC Accreditation term. In the instance that a program does not meet the candidacy requirements as indicated in the Annual Report, that program is subject to additional verification. Verification ranges from requiring the submission of additional documentation or the NAEYC Academy conducting a phone interview to discuss the program's strategies for training and hiring staff in order to meet candidacy requirements or a site visit. It is based on that verification, whether the program should maintain their accreditation status or revocation should be considered.

Q18:  How does NAEYC ensure that programs maintain accreditation throughout their five year term? (March 2008)
All NAEYC Accredited programs are required to submit an Annual Report on the first, second, third, and fourth anniversaries of the program's accreditation.  NAEYC may contact a program for additional information based on changes reported in an Annual Report, Self Report or as part of a complaint investigation.  A verification interview and/or verification visit may also be needed in order to ensure that accreditation is being maintained. If a program is unable to demonstrate that it is maintaining accreditation during a visit, the program's NAEYC Accreditation will be revoked. NAEYC Accredited programs are also eligible for unannounced visits at any time during the five year term.

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VERIFICATION VISITS

Q1: Why does the Academy conduct verification visits?
During a program’s 5-year term of accreditation, the NAEYC Academy is obligated to ensure that all NAEYC accredited programs continue to meet the current accreditation early childhood program standards and criteria. Fulfilling this obligation assures families and other consumers of NAEYC-accredited programs that procedures exist for monitoring programs’ ongoing compliance with performance expectations.

Q2: What may prompt a verification visit?
An Annual Report or Self-Report indicating significant changes in the program (per existing NAEYC verification of continued program compliance policy will be reviewed in the context of how the program is continuing to meet the NAEYC Standards and Accreditation criteria.  A report indicating significant changes may be grounds for further verification.  This further verification may be completed via telephone interview, submitting additional documentation, or a verification visit to the program.

Q3: Will I be provided with a 15-day window for the verification visit?  And a call the day before the visit?
The scheduling system is the same as for an initial or a reaccreditation visit. Your program will be contacted by a Regional Assessor who will set up a scheduling calendar in which your visit will occur. You will have the opportunity to provide the assessor with exclusion days when your program will not be available for a visit.  Any major religious holidays your program observes should be conveyed to the assessor, but will not count as exclusion days.  Visits will not be scheduled on Federal holidays. After receiving this information the assessor will schedule the visit and will provide you with a 15 day window during which time the visit will occur.  The assessor will contact the program via telephone the business day before. 

Q4: What happens if a program refuses to allow an assessor to conduct a verification visit?
By earning NAEYC Accreditation, a program agrees to comply with NAEYC Accreditation policies and procedures. By refusing a verification visit, the program negates this agreement and automatically relinquishes accreditation.

Q5: If a program’s administrator is not available during a verification visit, who is authorized to work with the assessor(s)?
The assistant administrator or a staff member on-site who is responsible in the administrator’s absence is authorized to work with the assessor(s) during a verification visit.

Q6: What will the assessor(s) do during the verification visit?

  1. Conduct classroom observations in each eligible age group and a minimum of 50% of the total eligible groups served by the program.  Classroom Portfolios will not be viewed during a verification visit.
  2. Assess Required Criteria and verify licensing/regulation status.

Q7: We were accredited under the former system (prior to Sept. 16, 2006).  What will a verification visit be like for our program?
Effective September 16, 2006 all NAEYC Accredited programs are under the new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria, including the verification visits.

During a verification visit, the emphasis will be on the Classroom Observations and verifying only a few documents related to the required criteria and licensing/regulation status. A program is not required to meet the Candidacy requirements [link to Candidacy requirements] http://www.naeyc.org/academy/table1.asp for a verification visit if they were accredited under our previous accreditation system.  They will only be required to meet these Candidacy requirements when they pursue reaccreditation.

Q8: We were accredited under the current NAEYC accreditation system.  What will a verification visit be like for our program?
Effective September 16, 2006 all NAEYC Accredited programs are under the new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria, including the verification visits.

During a verification visit, the emphasis will be on the Classroom Observations and verifying only a few documents related to the required criteria and licensing/regulation status. Your program is also required to maintain the Candidacy requirements throughout your 5-year term, so those will be verified during a verification visit.

Q9: My program was accredited under the former system (prior to September 16, 2006) and my accreditation term lasts several more years. Do we need to have our Program Portfolio and Classroom Portfolios ready for verification visits?
No. Programs that were accredited under the 1998 Accreditation system are not responsible for having completed portfolios but they are responsible for the new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria, effective September 16, 2006.

Currently accredited programs may find it helpful to begin constructing their portfolios to assist in organizing documents and for program improvement purposes. 

Q10: What is the Decision Process after the verification visit?
The Assessor(s) will submit results of the assessment to the NAEYC Academy where these results will be reviewed by staff for procedural accuracy. The Council for NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation, an independent group appointed by the NAEYC Governing Board, establishes the policies that guides the actual decision making and handles the appeals' process. (Click here for more information on the Appeals process.) Since a verification visit will not include a complete assessment, the decision will be based on each classroom meeting 70% of the criteria on which they are assessed and that all Required Criteria are met.

Q11: If a program loses its accreditation after a verification visit can the decision be appealed?
Yes, all appeals are reviewed by the Council for NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Programs must follow instructions on the options form provided by the Academy to proceed with the appeals process based on identified procedural errors. (Click here for more information on the Appeals process.)

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RANDOM VISITS

Q1: How are programs selected for random unannounced visits?
A random sample of programs is selected by a computer system, which draws programs proportionally from each state and region. All NAEYC Accredited programs are eligible for unannounced visits.

Q2: What is the reason for the random unannounced visits?
This policy reassures families, employers and others that they can rely on NAEYC’s accreditation system. It will help NAEYC Academy ensure that all programs are high quality, and are continuing to meet the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria.

This step strengthens the reliability of the system so that all stakeholders have a greater appreciation for all accredited programs, and for the investments programs make to improve, so that children benefit from high-quality early learning experience.

Q3: We had a random unannounced visit recently.  Does that mean we won’t have another random unannounced visit within our 5-year term of accreditation?
No. All accredited programs are eligible throughout their 5-year term.

Q4: Our program was accredited under the previous (1998) NAEYC Accreditation system.  What will a random unannounced visit be like for our program?
Effective September 16, 2006 all NAEYC Accredited programs are under the new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria, including the random unannounced visits.

During the random unannounced visit, the emphasis will be on the Classroom Observations and verifying only a few documents related to the required criteria and licensing/regulation status.  A program is not required to meet the Candidacy requirements  for a random unannounced visit if they were accredited under the previous accreditation system. They will be required to meet the Candidacy requirements when they pursue reaccreditation.

Q5: Our program was accredited under the current NAEYC accreditation system.  What will a random unannounced visit be like for our program?
During the random unannounced visit, the emphasis will be on the Classroom Observations and verifying only a few documents related to the required criteria and licensing/regulation status.  Your program is also required to maintain the Candidacy requirements throughout your 5-year term, so those will be verified during a random unannounced visit.

Q6: Will I be provided with a 15-day window for the random unannounced visit?
No. Assessor(s) will arrive at the program on the morning of the visit and no advance notice will be provided. This is necessary to meet the intent for the visits to reassure all stakeholders that they can rely on NAEYC’s accreditation system.

Q7: What happens if a program refuses to allow an assessor to conduct an unannounced visit?
By earning NAEYC Accreditation, a program agrees to comply with NAEYC Accreditation policies and procedures. By refusing a random unannounced visit, the program negates this agreement and automatically relinquishes accreditation.

Q8: If a program’s administrator is not available during a random unannounced visit, who is authorized to work with the assessor(s)?
The assistant administrator or a staff member on-site who is responsible in the administrator’s absence is authorized to work with the assessor(s) during a verification visit.

Q9: What if a program has security policies that do not allow an assessor to enter a site without advance notice?
NAEYC Academy’s first priority is to protect the children, families, and program staff at accredited centers and therefore, we gather information in the Annual Report about the appropriate contact for each program.  The Academy works closely with assessors and program staff if there are any questions or concerns.

Q10: What will the assessor(s) do during the random unannounced visit?

  1. Conduct classroom observations in each eligible age group and a minimum of 50% of the total eligible groups served by the program.  Classroom Portfolios will not be viewed during a random unannounced visit.
  2. Assess Required Criteria and verify licensing/regulation status.

Q11: My program was accredited under the former system (prior to September 16, 2006) and my accreditation term lasts several more years.  Do we need to have our Program Portfolio and Classroom Portfolios ready for random unannounced visits?
No. Programs that were accredited under the 1998 Accreditation system are not responsible for having completed portfolios but they are responsible for the new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Criteria, effective September 16, 2006.

Currently accredited programs may find it helpful to begin constructing their portfolios to assist in organizing documents and for program improvement purposes. 

Q12: What is the Decision Process after the random unannounced visit?
The Assessor(s) will submit results of the assessment to the NAEYC Academy where these results will be reviewed by staff for procedural accuracy. The Council for NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation, an independent group appointed by the NAEYC Governing Board, establishes the policies that guides the actual decision making and handles the appeals’ process. Since a random unannounced visit will not include a complete assessment, the decision will be based on each classroom meeting 70% of the criteria on which they are assessed and that all Required Criteria are met.

Q13: If a program’s loses its accreditation after an unannounced visit can the decision be appealed?
Yes, all appeals are reviewed by the Council for NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation.  Programs must follow instructions on the options form provided by the Academy to proceed with the appeals process based on identified procedural errors.

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