Daycare: Accreditation VS Licensing
Posted April 09, 2012 in
By Heather Walczewski, Child Development Director, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids
When I attend a party with my husband and I tell parents I operate a child development center at the Y, the questions start flying at me from all directions; they want the inside scoop that goes past the flyers and website tips. Parents love their children so entrusting them to a child care facility is fraught with concerns.
Far and away the number one question parents ask me is, “What is the difference between a licensed child care center and an accredited child development center?”
Accreditation is much harder to obtain than licensing. Having said that, make sure the accreditation organization is long-standing and is tough as nails when it comes to joining and how they monitor the child care center after accreditation.
The Y has spent many hours and has just received its second accreditation from the 90-year-old National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for school children 5 to 12 years of age. When a child center tells you they are accredited, contact the accrediting organization and ask them how many child centers they have un-accredited in the past five years, that will give you an idea of how tough they are on members.
I remind our staff, now that NAEYC has accredited the Y for school-age children that just like our child care; we are subject to randomly unannounced site visits. We are required to respond to formal complaints and adhere to NAEYC’s Complaint Policies and Procedures at all times and we will agree to additional verification upon request by NAEYC officials.
Here are just a few of the differences between accreditation versus licensing:
• Adult to child ratio: 12 to 1
• Staff needs a minimum of an associate’s degree in early childhood development
• The center must collaborate with a nutritionist for menu planning
• A strong focus on diversity and varying cultures in classroom
• Diverse child development curriculum
• Children must be assessed 4 times a year on developmental goals and objectives
• Adult to child ratio: 18 to 1
• No childhood development college degree is needed
• No nutritionists need oversee daily menus
• A curriculum must be used
• No child assessments are necessary
For more information about all of the Y’s child and school-age programs, visit our child care tab.