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NAEYC Accreditation

Country Day is very proud of its Accreditation by the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest organization of early childhood professionals. The school received its initial Accreditation in 1988 and has maintained its high quality program status through submission of annual documentation and an extensive re-accreditation process every five years. This happens to be a re-accreditation year for CDS.

So, what does that mean? The re-accreditation is a collaborative process involving CDS parents, teachers, admin and Board members. All teachers are responsible for creating portfolios that contain documentation of how they meet the required criteria in their classroom, admin and Board members are required to create a program portfolio and parents are required to participate in a Family Survey in the spring. All in all there are just shy of 400 criteria we must provide evidence for. The process culminates with an assessor visit June – November 2017.

Based upon research on the development and education of young children, NAEYC created 10 Standards. The Standards define what NAEYC believes all high quality early childhood programs should provide. Each month we will highlight one of the ten Standards in this spot on the website.

Standard of the Month

April's Focus: Parent Feedback

CDS is currently undergoing its next re-accreditation cycle which involves the entire school community. The re-accreditation process begins with an extensive self-study involving parents, teachers and administrators to determine how well the school meets almost 400 criteria. While the NAEYC criteria address all aspects of the program including: teacher qualifications and development, teacher/child ratios, teacher/child and teacher/family relationships, curriculum, physical environment, health and safety and leadership and management, greatest emphasis is placed on the quality of interactions among staff and children and the developmental appropriateness of the curriculum. Primary consideration is given to the nature of the child’s experience.

Teachers and administrators compile portfolios to document the ways in which the school meets the criteria, complete self and program evaluations and make improvements based upon their findings of the self-study. The accuracy of the self-study is then verified by an on-site visit to the school by NAEYC trained assessors. The window for this validation visit is June – November 2017. Results of the visit are reviewed by a national commission of experts in early childhood education to determine if accreditation will be granted. If granted, the accreditation is valid for 5 years.

Parents are an integral part of the re-accreditation process. As well as continually being encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions to CDS teachers and CDS Admin staff, parents are asked to complete a Family Survey supplied by NAEYC. During the week of April 17 look for an NAEYC Family Survey to come home in your child’s weekly folder. Please complete and return this confidential and anonymous survey by April 28. We must have at least 50% of families complete the surveys. We thank you in advance for your participation.

For additional information about NAEYC Accreditation visit www.naeyc.org.

March's Highlighted Standard: Physical Environment

The program has a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. The environment includes facilities, equipment, and materials to facilitate child and staff learning and development.

An organized, properly equipped, and well-maintained program environment facilitates the learning, comfort, health, and safety of the children and adults who use the program.

What to look for in a program:

  • The facility is designed so that staff can supervise all children by sight and sound.
  • The program has necessary furnishings, such as hand-washing sinks, child-size chairs and tables, and cots, cribs, beds, or sleeping pads.
  • A variety of materials and equipment appropriate for children’s ages and stages of development is available and kept clean, safe, and in good repair.
  • Outdoor play areas have fences or natural barriers that prevent access to streets and other hazards.
  • First-aid kits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and other safety equipment are installed and available.

February's Highlighted Standard: Community Relationships

The program establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals. Relationships with agencies and institutions in the community can help a program achieve its goals and connect families with resources that support children’s healthy development and learning.

What to look for in a program:

  • The program connects with and uses museums, parks, libraries, zoos, and other resources in the community.
  • Representatives from community programs, such as musical performers and local artists, are invited to share their interests and talents with the children.
  • The staff develop professional relationships with community agencies and organizations that further the program’s capacity to meet the needs and interests of children and families.

January's Highlighted Standard: Health

The program promotes the nutrition and health of children and protects children and staff from illness and injury. Children must be healthy and safe in order to learn and grow. Programs must be healthy and safe to support children’s healthy development.

What to look for in a program:

  • Teaching staff have training in pediatric first aid.
  • Infants are placed on their backs to sleep.
  • The program has policies regarding regular hand washing and routinely cleans and sanitizes all surfaces in the facility.
  • There is a clear plan for responding to illness, including how to decide whether a child needs to go home and how families will be notified.
  • Snacks and meals are nutritious, and food is prepared and stored safely

December's Highlighted Standard: Assessment of Child Progress

The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development. These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop.

Assessment results benefit children by informing sound decisions, teaching, and program improvement.

Assessments help teachers plan appropriately challenging curriculum and tailor instruction that responds to each child’s strengths and needs. Assessments can also help teachers identify children with disabilities and ensuring that they receive needed services.

What to look for in a program:

  • The program supports children’s learning using a variety of assessment methods, such as observations, checklists, and rating scales.
  • Assessment methods are appropriate for each child’s age and level of development and encompass all areas of development, including math, science, and other cognitive skills; language; social-emotional; and physical.
  • Teachers use assessment methods and information to design goals for individual children and monitor their progress, as well as to improve the program and its teaching strategies.
  • Families receive information about their child’s development and learning on a regular basis, including through meetings or conferences.

November's Highlighted Standard: Teaching

The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.

Children have different learning styles, needs, capacities, interests, and backgrounds. By recognizing these differences and using instructional approaches that are appropriate for each child, teachers and staff help all children learn.

What to look for in a program:

  • Teachers carefully supervise all children.
  • Teachers provide time each day for indoor and outdoor activities (weather permitting) and organize time and space so that children have opportunities to work or play individually and in groups.
  • Children’s recent work (for example, art and emergent writing) is displayed in the classroom to help children reflect on and extend their learning.
  • Teachers modify strategies and materials to respond to the needs and interests of individual children, engaging each child and enhancing learning.

October's Highlighted Standard: Curriculum

The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.

A well-planned written curriculum provides a guide for teachers and administrators. It helps them work together and balance different activities and approaches to maximize children’s learning and development. The curriculum includes goals for the content that children are learning, planned activities linked to these goals, daily schedules and routines, and materials to be used.

NAEYC and the NAEYC Accreditation system do not prescribe a specific curriculum; programs can design their own or choose a commercially available curriculum that meets NAEYC’s guidelines.

What to look for in a program:

  • Ask about the program’s curriculum and how it addresses all aspects of child development. The curriculum should not focus on just one area of development.
  • Children are given opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play, and teachers have opportunities to work with individual children and small groups on specific skills.
  • Materials and equipment spark children’s interest and encourage them to experiment and learn.
  • Activities are designed to help children get better at reasoning, solving problems, getting along with others, using language, and developing other skills.

September's Highlighted Standard: Relationships

The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and fosters each child’s ability to
contribute as a responsible community member.

Warm, sensitive, and responsive relationships help children feel secure. The safe and secure environments built by positive relationships help children thrive physically, benefit from learning experiences, and cooperate and get along with others.

What to look for in your child’s school:

  • Children and adults feel welcome when they visit the program. Teachers help new children adjust to the program environment and make friends with other children.
  • Teaching staff engage in warm, friendly conversations with the children and encourage and recognize children’s work and accomplishments.
  • Children are encouraged to play and work together.
  • Teachers help children resolve conflicts by identifying feelings, describing problems, and trying alternate solutions. Teaching staff never physically punish children.
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