Accreditation is a voluntary process designed to improve the quality of early and school-age programs. Accreditation systems require programs to meet standards that exceed those required by state regulations. The following are some national accreditation systems for early learning and school-age programs.
APPLE is a voluntary accreditation program with a two step accreditation process. A self study is followed by a verification visit, which is an evaluation of the indicators of quality in each individual program. APPLE also has a school-age endorsement called APPLE SAUCE. It is not for stand-alone, school age-programs.
AMS Accreditation is a voluntary process undertaken by schools. Through a self-study and documentation process a school defines itself in terms of strengths and areas that need improvement.
ACSI is a nonprofit organization designed to assist Christian schools at every grade level, including early education and higher education.
COA partnered with the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) to transition its accreditation program to COA. The standards are based on generally-accepted elements of best practices, and are outcomes-oriented, effective in advancing quality, and responsive to the unique needs and diversity of after-school programs.
NAC is administered by the National Association of Child Care Professionals. The NAC standards, which cover children birth through school-age, include the following components: program philosophy and goals, health and safety, administration, parent communication, curriculum, and interaction between staff and children.
The NAEYC Accreditation Criteria address all aspects of an early childhood program, including interactions among teachers and children, curriculum, interactions among teachers and families, administration, staff qualifications and professional development, staffing patterns, physical environment, health and safety, nutrition and food service, and program evaluation.
NAFCC Accreditation was designed to promote and recognize high-quality, professional family child care. Accreditation standards cover following content areas: relationships, environment, activities, developmental learning goals, safety and health and professional and business practices.
NECPA is a voluntary accreditation system for programs serving children birth to five years. The NECPA self-assessment instrument is based on criteria in the following areas: administration and general operations, professional development and work environment, indoor environment, outdoor environment, developmental programs, parent and community involvement, formal school linkages, and health and safety.