Standard 9: NAEYC Accreditation Criteria for Physical Environment Standard

The following chart presents the accreditation criteria for this topic area. Each criterion provides specific details to guide program plans, policies and practices. The criteria are numbered (01, 02, 03, etc.) within their topic area. Each criterion within each program standard is identified by its relevant age group (or groups). Many criteria are identified as "universal" (U), meaning that all classrooms and programs pursuing NAEYC Accreditation must address these criteria. These aspects of quality should be seen in any programs or classrooms serving birth through kindergarten, though they may look somewhat different in practice depending on the children's age.

Age Groups:
U = universal
I = infant
T = toddlers/twos
P = preschool
K = kindergarten

Building and Physical Design

U   I   T   P   K
There is a minimum of 35 square feet of usable space per child in each of the primary indoor activity areas. (The primary activity area does not include diaper stations, cribs, large structures that cannot be removed or moved aside easily, toilets, any sick-child area, staff rooms, corridors, hallways, stairways, closets, lockers or cubbies, laundry rooms, janitor rooms, furnace rooms, storage areas, and built-in shelving. Specialty areas such as computer rooms, reading rooms, and lunchrooms, where children are expected to remain seated for short periods of time may be excluded from the minimum space requirement.)

U   I   T   P   K
The work environment for staff, including classrooms and staff rooms, is comfortable and clean and is in good repair. The work environment includes a place for adults to take a break from children; an adult-sized bathroom; a secure place for staff to store their personal belongings; and an administrative area for planning or preparing materials that is separated from the children's areas.

U   I   T   P   K
Facilities meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements. Accessibility includes access to buildings, toilets, sinks, drinking fountains, outdoor play space, and all classroom and therapy areas.

U   I   T   P   K
The program provides children who attend for more than two hours at a time natural light in at least some of the indoor areas occupied during the course of the day.

U   I   T   P   K
Toilets, drinking water, and hand-washing facilities are within 40 feet of the indoor areas that children use. The hand-washing sinks are accessible to staff and children (step stools are available if needed).

U   I   T   P   K
The routine frequency of cleaning and sanitation in the facility is carried out as indicated in the Cleaning and Sanitation Frequency Table at Staff clean and sanitize toilet seats, toilet handles, toilet bowls, doorknobs, or cubicle handles and floors either daily or immediately if visibly soiled. Staff clean and sanitize potty chairs, if in use, after each child's use.

U   I   T   P   K
The building is well maintained:

U   I   T   P   K
Program staff protect children and adults from hazards, including electrical shock, burns or scalding, slipping, tripping, or falling. Floor coverings are secured to keep staff and children from tripping or slipping. The program excludes baby walkers.

9.C.09 U   I   T   P   K
Program staff make sure that stairwells and corridors are well lighted. There is emergency lighting with unobstructed and visible paths for entering and exiting as well as clearly marked regular and emergency exits.

9.C.10 U   I   T   P   K
Fully equipped first-aid kits are readily available and maintained for each group of children. Staff take at least one kit to the outdoor play areas as well as on field trips and outings away from the site.

U   I   T   P   K
Fully working fire extinguishers and fire alarms are installed in each classroom and are tagged and serviced annually. Fully working carbon monoxide detectors are installed in each classroom and are tagged and serviced annually. Smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are tested monthly, and a written log of testing dates and battery changes is maintained and available.

U   I   T   P   K
Any body of water, including swimming pools, built-in wading pools, ponds, and irrigation ditches, is enclosed by a fence at least four feet in height, with any gates childproofed to prevent entry by unattended children. To prevent drowning accidents, staff supervise all children by sight and sound in all areas with access to water in tubs, pails, and water tables.

U   I   T   P   K
Areas that have been recently painted, carpeted, tiled, or otherwise renovated are ventilated before they are used by children.

U   I   T   P   K
Vehicles that programs use are held to school bus standards or are multifunction school activity buses. These vehicles are labeled with the program's name and phone number. Program vehicle maintenance is performed according to manufacturers' recommended maintenance schedule. Documentation of maintenance is available on-site for each vehicle, showing date of regular and at least quarterly inspections and preventative maintenance. Staff carry out daily pre-trip inspections of vehicles and correct any unsafe conditions, including unsatisfactory air pressure in tires.

U   I   T   P   K
Staff use vehicles and approved child and adult safety-restraint devices in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and they use the restraints at all times when transporting children.

I   T
Program staff identify choking hazards and remove them from the proximity and reach of infants and toddlers/twos.

I   T
Bathrooms have barriers to prevent entry by unattended infants and toddlers/twos.