March 2019 Newsletter – The Value of NAEYC Accreditation

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The three Sunshine Academy schools are currently the only early education centers in Brookline that are accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (https://families.naeyc.org/find-quality-child-care). Cambridge, Boston and other surrounding communities have a much higher percentage of NAEYC-accredited programs, and the goal of achieving accreditation is much more of an expected norm in those communities. Given Brookline’s demographic, we do not understand why NAEYC accreditation is not more of an expectation.

To operate legally in Massachusetts, all early education programs must undergo a licensing process through the Department of Early Education and Care. While essential as a baseline, the licensing standards are limited (see www.mass.gov/lists/department-of-early-education-and-care-eec-laws-and-regulations).

NAEYC accreditation certifies excellence in early childhood education. Fewer than five percent of all early childhood programs nationwide are awarded this honor. The accreditation process requires more than a year of rigorous program review and improvement and includes parent and teacher surveys, classroom observations, portfolio compilation, policy review, and site visits from NAEYC assessors. Programs must then maintain accreditation through annual reports that demonstrate continuous program improvement. Accreditation is valid for five years after which the entire self-assessment, application and evaluation process must be repeated. All three Sunshine Academy schools have been accredited and re-accredited multiple times. To view our NAEYC portfolios or accreditation reports, please ask Chelsea. To view or download the 128-page NAEYC program standards booklet, please see www.naeyc.org/accreditation/early-learning/standards.

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