naeyc accreditation standards

What is a NAEYC Accredited Preschool?

As a parent, you want to find the right preschool program for your little one—a preschool in which your child will thrive. But with the amount of preschools out there, determining which programs offer the quality you’re seeking can be overwhelming. What should you look for when trying to find the best preschool?

One thing you may hear education experts talk about is NAEYC accreditation. NAEYC accredited preschool can offer your child the right start in his school career. But just what does it mean? Read on, as we break down the definition of an NAEYC accredited preschool and where you can find one that will inspire your tike to love education right from the start.

What Defines a NAEYC Accredited Preschool

First, let’s explain the acronym. NAEYC stands for National Association for the Education of Young Children. Further, “accredited” means that a school has met a certain level of standards and quality. NAEYC accreditation is something to look for as you weigh your preschool options. NAEYC is important because it can help parents make an educated (pun intended!) decision on a day care, preschool, or kindergarten program. For more than 20 years now, families have relied on this accreditation to ensure the quality of education and care provided in programs for their little learners.

Preschools that earn NAEYC accreditation must first meet 10 standards for early childhood education. These standards include:

  1. Promote positive relationships for all kids and adults to encourage each child’s sense of individual worth.
  2. Incorporate a curriculum that fosters all areas of child development: cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social.
  3. Use culturally, developmentally, and linguistically appropriate and effective language in teaching.
  4. Provide ongoing assessments of each child’s development and relay children’s progress to the family.
  5. Promote the nutrition and health of children and protect students and staff from illness and injury.
  6. Maintain a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, skills, knowledge, and professional commitment needed to foster children’s learning and to support families’ various interest and needs.
  7. Establish and uphold collaborative relationships with students’ families.
  8. Form relationships with the community (and use their resources) to support the academic achievement of program goals.
  9. Offer a safe and healthy physical environment.
  10. Incorporate strong personnel, fiscal, and program management policies so that all students, students’ families, and staff have positive experiences.

As these standards suggest, NAEYC accredited preschools demonstrate that they can offer a safe and healthy learning environment for children, have well-trained teachers, have access to quality teaching materials, and work with a curriculum that is appropriately challenging.

Reaching Accreditation

Early childhood education programs that are accredited by the NAEYC are proud to say they have this title, because they know how much work it takes to reach that achievement. Using the NAEYC tools and materials, they are consistently elevating their programs and offering the best possible educational opportunities for young children. And just how exactly do they earn that accreditation status?

After a thorough application process, skilled and reliable NAEYC program assessors visit each facility to decide whether it is meeting NAEYC standards. After the accreditation is granted, all programs are subject to random, unannounced visits to ensure the quality continues to meet these standards.

Finding an NAEYC Accredited Preschool in Connecticut

Now that you know the standards and requirements to earn that coveted NAEYC status, you know what to look for in a program for your little one. Riverside Magnet School offers a NAEYC accredited preschool program for young children in the Greater Hartford area. This program includes certified teachers and a full day curriculum.

Not only is Riverside Magnet School a NAEYC accredited school, it is also a Reggio Emilio inspired program. This means that:

  • Project work is child-directed
  • Teachers incorporate drama, art, and other teaching techniques to reach each child’s individual style of learning
  • There is a focus on collaboration
  • Teachers play the role of researcher, guiding learning through careful listening, observation, and engagement
  • A variety of senses and exploration are utilized in the learning process
  • The environment plays the role as third teacher

This approach to early childhood education offers many benefits for students and their families, primarily in that it fosters a love for learning early on in life. With a school that offers this kind of personalized and focused education for each individual child and has that high-quality NAEYC accreditation, it can make the overwhelming decision of finding a preschool program just a little bit easier on parents.

If you would like to learn more about the program at Riverside Magnet School, sign up for a virtual information session today!