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NAEYC Accreditation, Licensing & Training

Founded in 1926, The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children with nearly 80,000 members, a national network of more than 300 state and local Affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations.

NAEYC is the leading membership association for those working with and on behalf of children from birth through age 8. NAEYC convenes thought leaders, teachers and other practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders and sets standards of excellence for programs and teachers in early childhood education. NAEYC members include teachers, para-educators, center directors, trainers, college educators, families of young children, and the public at large. Membership is open to all individuals who share a desire to serve and act on behalf of the needs and rights of all young children.


The NAEYC Academy sets and monitors standards for high-quality early childhood education programs and accredits programs that meet these standards. NAEYC Accreditation has been helping parents make the right choices and improving the quality of education and care provided in programs for young children since the early 1980s. Parents looking for a high-quality program for their young child can watch the Right Choice for Kids video and search for an NAEYC-Accredited program. Programs interested in achieving NAEYC Accreditation can learn more at www.naeyc.org/academy.

The NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation (ECADA) awards accreditation to associate degree programs that indicate strength in a set of twelve programmatic characteristics and meet the NAEYC professional preparation standards, additional supportive skills, and the ECADA eligibility requirements. NAEYC awards national recognition to baccalaureate and graduate early childhood programs that meet the NAEYC professional preparation standards and are housed in colleges and universities that are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

NAEYC Mission Statement

NAEYC’s mission is to serve and act on behalf of the needs, rights and well-being of all young children with primary focus on the provision of educational and developmental services and resources.


  1. Improving professional practice and working conditions in early childhood education.
  2. Supporting early childhood programs by working to achieve a high-quality system of early childhood education.
  3. Building a high-performing, inclusive organization of groups and individuals who are committed to promoting excellence in early childhood education for all young children.

Vision Statement

NAEYC’s efforts are designed to achieve these ends:

  • All children have access to a safe and accessible, high quality early childhood education that includes a developmentally appropriate curriculum; knowledgeable and well-trained program staff and educators; and comprehensive services that support their health, nutrition, and social well-being, in an environment that respects and supports diversity.
  • All early childhood professionals are supported as professionals with a career ladder, ongoing professional development opportunities, and compensation that attracts and retains high quality educators.
  • All families have access to early childhood education programs that are affordable and of high quality and actively participate in their children’s education as respected reciprocal partners.
  • All communities, states, and the nation work together to ensure accountable systems of high-quality early childhood education for all children.

Professional Development Resources

The NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo is one of the foremost professional development experiences in the early childhood field. Each year, NAEYC’s Annual Conference features hundreds of peer-reviewed presentations and exhibits, and many other opportunities for educators to learn about the latest research, discuss new ideas for professional preparation, and network and share with colleagues. In addition, NAEYC’s local, state and regional Affiliates host conferences throughout the year, offering additional opportunities for early childhood educators to exchange ideas and learn together.

National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development

NAEYC’s National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development is designed for teacher educators, program administrators, and others who provide professional preparation and ongoing professional development experiences for the early childhood workforce: center- and school-based teaching staff, family child care providers, and other direct service specialists. The 2012 Institute will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10–13, 2012. The theme is “Leadership Throughout the Early Childhood Profession: Research, Policy, and Practice.”

NAEYC’s professional development resources and training programs are designed to meet the varied needs of the early childhood field. Designed for practitioners as well as early childhood adult educators (faculty and trainers), the resources employ a variety of delivery methods—web- and computer-based, face-to-face, online, and training-of-trainers (TOT) programs. Resources include Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Intentionality, Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Play, Communication Skills for Challenging Conversations: Training for Program Administrators, and The HRM Journal: Human Resources Management in Early Childhood Programs.

Association Relations

NAEYC and our Affiliates work together to raise the quality of early childhood programs and to continue building the Association as a high-performing organization, strengthened by diversity and inclusion. Affiliates are represented by the Affiliate Council, a NAEYC advisory body providing leadership and guidance to further strengthen the capacity of the NAEYC Affiliate Network.