As parents, you always want what’s best for your child. From nutritious food to nurturing relationships, there are endless ways to support and shape your child’s world—and your choice in child care is no different. The benefits of a quality childcare program are well-researched, but with so many options, it can be a challenge to come to your decision.
When considering your options, having a solid understanding of daycare accreditation is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Accredited daycare centers are nationally recognized for their level of quality—so families know their children are receiving the best possible care and education.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined the basics of daycare accreditation, with an overview of some of the common accreditations you may want to look for.
What to Know About Daycare Accreditation
Accredited vs. Non-accredited: What’s the Difference?
The goal of national accreditation is to improve the quality of early learning and child care programs in our country while ensuring that families have access to those that meet their high standards. Each program must provide an exceptional level of care based on the standards set by early learning organizations, such as the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC).
While it varies based on the accrediting body, the process towards accreditation typically involves an evaluation of the program’s curriculum and care with an emphasis on self-study for the staff.
One of the main characteristics of accredited daycare centers is a commitment to continuous improvement. From their environment and educators to their curriculum and care, accredited daycare centers are always working to improve all aspects of their program and practice. The accrediting organization provides a platform for daycares to improve and grow.
Non-accredited child care programs must still meet their state’s minimum licensing requirements; however, that does not always set the bar very high.
Is Daycare Accreditation Required?
Daycare accreditation is not a requirement—but rather a voluntary process that centers can choose to participate in. All daycare centers must adhere to the minimum licensing requirements mandated by their state, which focus on compliance as opposed to quality. Licensing regulations vary state-by-state but include general guidelines for the supervision and safety of child care programs.
However, daycare accreditation is an extra step that many programs will take to go above and beyond the minimum requirements. It allows a daycare to demonstrate their professionalism and receive validation for best practices. Although many daycares opt for national accreditation, it is not a requirement mandated by the local government.
Why Daycare Accreditation Matters
At the end of the day, you may still be wondering: What does daycare accreditation mean for your family? Here are the top reasons why the recognition by a national accrediting system is meaningful:
- It acknowledges and improves the quality of early learning programs.
- It provides families with a platform to access the highest quality programs.
- It encourages the professional development of educators and staff.
What Does Accreditation Look Like With Cadence Education
Every daycare has a different path for accreditation. Some may opt for certain accreditations over others, depending on their needs. The programs in Cadence Education schools value accreditation, and their quality has been recognized by many accrediting organizations nationwide.
Here are a few examples of the many accreditations that have been awarded to Cadence Education programs.
- The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) was created with the intent of “Encouraging Quality and Recognizing Excellence.” NECPA operates on a framework of standards created by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association for the National Health and Safety Performance Standards.
- The NECPA Standards evaluate certain factors, such as adult and child relationships, environmental health and safety concerns, and interpersonal dynamics within the organization and community.
- NAC Accreditation
- The National Accreditation Commission (NAC) offers accreditation to early childhood programs that follow their evidence-based practices and research-based criteria.
- Through an ongoing process of assessment and improvement, the NAC accreditation focuses on six core areas. These include administration, family engagement, health and safety, curriculum, interactions between teachers and children, and classroom health and safety.
- Advanced Ed/Cognia
- Cognia, formerly known as AdvancedEd, offers a holistic approach to accreditation and certification with the intent of empowering its educators and children. Through a standards-based process, Cognia seeks to improve early child care and education practices nationwide. Through a supportive process of evaluation and engagement, accreditation with Cognia ensures the programs are safe, nurturing, and meeting the needs of every child.
Broaden Your Child’s Horizons at Cadence Education
Daycare accreditation offers early learning programs endless opportunities for professional development, progress, and growth. They ensure that quality programs are recognized for their efforts while supported to always strive for more. They provide a platform for families to understand and access the highest quality early education and care programs available.
Accredited daycare centers like those at Cadence Education understand the importance of excellence in their practices and programs. As a leading childcare provider for the last 20 years, Cadence Education strives to exceed expectations and push progress. The educators are committed to cultivating a community that is safe, stimulating, and supportive for each child.
As a family at Cadence, you will value the peace of mind you get each day. Knowing that your child is in a nurturing environment with qualified professionals who truly care is simply priceless. If you’re ready to broaden your child’s horizons in an exceptional early care and education program, find a Cadence facility near you—and get ready to watch your child thrive.