High-quality child care produces a stimulating, secure and loving atmosphere for the little one.

Focusing on children's wellbeing and ecological exposures in child care centers is Essential for several reasons: Since they display exploratory behaviors that put them in direct contact with contaminated surfaces, they're more likely to be vulnerable to some contaminants found. They're also less developed immunologically, physiologically, and neurologically and are more prone to the negative effects of toxins and chemicals. Children spend a whole lot of time in child care settings. Many babies and young children spend as many as 50 hours each week, in child care.

Nationally, 13 million children, or 65 percent of U.S. kids, spend some part of the afternoon in child care and at California alone, roughly 1.1 million children five decades or younger attend child care. In this exact same condition, many adults might also be subjected as roughly 146,000 employees work 40 hours or more a week child care centers. Child care environments include substances which may be harmful for kids. Recent studies suggest that lots of child care environments might contain pesticides, allergens, volatile organic compounds from cleaning agents and sanitizers, and other contaminants which may be toxic to children's wellbeing.

Nevertheless, little is understood about what environmental and chemical exposures they might be getting in these configurations. To fill this gap, we quantified. Outcomes of the study were reported on the California Air Resources Board. Our findings help inform policies to lower accidents to children, encourage training and workshops to educate child care providers about methods to lower children's environmental exposures (ex. Using integrated pest management to decrease pesticide usage ), and search for future research.

Washing Your Baby’s Clothes
Washing Your Baby’s Clothes
Washing Your Baby’s Clothes – How to do it Rightly
Washing Dishes
Washing Dishes
Cleaning up after oneself is an important life skill
Make a Bed
Make a Bed
It might be a dying art, but learning how to make a bed is a valuable skill.
Sweep a Floor
Sweep a Floor
Give a kid a broom, and you are likely to see dirt flipping everywhere except in a pile.
Mop a Floor
Mop a Floor
Be sure to give them instructions on how to mop different floor types you may have in your home.

Demystifying Accreditation For Child Care Programs

Episode 156 – Getting accredited is becoming the standard as parents are getting more knowledgable on the importance of early childhood education. In this episode, Storm Webb, Executive Director of...

The post Demystifying Accreditation For Child Care Programs appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.


Episode 156 – Getting accredited is becoming the standard as parents are getting more knowledgable on the importance of early childhood education. In this episode, Storm Webb, Executive Director of...

The post Demystifying Accreditation For Child Care Programs appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.

Episode 156 – Getting accredited is becoming the standard as parents are getting more knowledgable on the importance of early childhood education. In this episode, Storm Webb, Executive Director of the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA), talks about different things that providers should be thinking about before getting accredited, how the accreditation process works and shares trends that she’s noticing in the field. 

Resources: 

  • NECPA Website
  • NECPA Resources
  • Connect with Storm at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Episode Transcript

Storm WEBB:

How do we keep childcare costs low for our families while still providing that fair compensation to our educators? On top of the pursuing quality those are the things that we’re trying to keep an eye on and help our industry with in our own advocacy efforts.

Ron SPREEUWENBERG: 

Storm, welcome to the Preschool Podcast!

WEBB:

Hi, thanks so much for having me!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

We are delighted today to have on the show Storm Webb. She is the executive director of NECPA, National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Tell us more about your background and how you got involved in early-childhood education in your role at NECPA.

WEBB:

Sure. So I’ve really been involved in ECE [early-childhood education] since I was born. I am lucky enough to be a third-generation provider. My grandmother has owned and operated programs for the last 45 years in the Northern Virginia area. So really just being raised in the program, serving in varying positions… I went and got a sociology degree; I worked on the Hill for a period of time; and then I came back to the family business because once you have that ECE bug it’s really hard to let it go. So I was really excited to be bringing a provider’s perspective to NECPA when I joined the team in 2013.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So tell us more about NECPA. Again, it’s the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. What’s it all about?

WEBB:

So NECPA was founded as a non-profit in 1991 by the National Childcare Association, or NCCA. They wanted to create an alternative path towards quality for maybe those mom and pops or the smaller team providers seeking to improve their quality and receive that recognition for it.

So NECPA’s approach has always been with children’s success in mind. But what that means for us is, providers success means children succeed. So we really wanted to present a provider-friendly approach to accreditation, which kind of always has this veil of secrecy around accreditation. And so we really wanted to demystify the process. We didn’t want it to feel intimidating, overly difficult to traverse. And we wanted to make sure that programs really could take these standards and then live accreditation.

So pursuing quality is the goal of every program. And we all got into this because we love children – we want to care for them. Nobody wants to have a bad centre. So we wanted to just ensure that we could support each program through their unique journey through the process. We just came out with a new book, a new standards book in 2017 where we have pools of resources there for free online. And we have webinars that we offer programs for getting started with accreditation. So again, just making sure that NECPA is that provider-friendly accreditation options.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so let’s say I’m operating a childcare program and I think it’s awesome quality.  Why would I pursue an accreditation? What’s the value add, in your experience, and the childcare programs you work with? Why are people pursuing that accreditation?

WEBB:

I think there’s several different aspects to it. There’s definitely funding involved through the Child Care and Development Block Grant for some quality initiatives in various state. There is also that aspect of being able to hold your head up higher. You know that you’re doing; you know you’re providing the best quality care. But now you have that field recognition. You can put that on your website, share it with your parents… I think it just brings a whole level of appreciation for what you’re doing. Your teachers get to hold their head up higher and your parents know that they’ve made the best choice for their children.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And so it’s kind of like a third-party validation. And I suppose… is there also an element to say it’s just like further proof, let’s say, or verification from somebody other than me saying on my website that we’re high quality?

WEBB:

Exactly, yes. Accreditation is voluntary. You have to go through this process by yourself. You have a self-assessment tool, you survey your parents, you survey your teachers, you really get your whole program family involved in the process of increasing your qualities if it’s necessary to implement any additional standards. And then you also get to achieve that together. So I guess, yeah, there’s a really great sense of achievement in it.

And when you get that feel, some of our favorite things to do are reposting things on our social media of teachers jumping up and down – “We did it! We finally got our accreditation!” So there’s definitely that sense of being able to put your stamp of quality through that third-party recognition, yes.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And can you touch briefly on the funding piece? What are the opportunities there?

WEBB:

It definitely varies by state, but you can get anywhere up to 25% additional state subsidy reimbursement for accreditation recognition. We’re recognized in several QRIS, or Quality Rating Initiative Systems. I think there’s about 44 active and 22 of those states recognize accreditation, somewhere about there. So we’re always pursuing reciprocity with these states through crosswalks so that we can ensure that the programs that are recognized by our high quality field are also recognized in their state initiatives when that funding is available.

It can also be teacher scholarships for continuing education. But definitely it allows you to increase the level of your program through either more teacher pay or better equipment for your students.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And in addition to accreditation for programs I understand there’s also other programs like the National Administrator Credential and the Certified Childcare Professional. Can you tell us a little bit more about what those are and why somebody might want to pursue those?

WEBB:

Sure. So as part of our family brand of excellence we offer two credentials, one for educators and one for directors. So the NAC – or the National Administrator Credential – has been around since the early 90s and it’s a nationally recognized credential for directors. So we know several educators become directors so they have that ECE background, but perhaps they don’t have that business background. So the National Administrator Credential was created to kind of bridge that gap. So making sure that not only are you a great educator but now you know how to run and operate that business. And it works well for those who don’t have time or money to go back to school.

And that’s the same with the CCP, the Certified Childcare Professional. It’s a rigorous credential for educators. It requires more time in the classroom, more continuing education than some other national credentials. We feel that additional rigorous standards are really appreciated with our state partners. And there’s lots of scholarships available for both of those credentials. We have scholarship opportunities available on our website as well.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And what’s the time commitment if I want to do one of these programs?

WEBB:

Sure. So the NAC is a 45-hour course. We also offer it online. So if you need a long distance learning opportunity you can go to www.NECPA.net and sign up for the CCP. It really is at your own pace and we accept up to five years back of continuing education credits for hours.

But as soon as you’re able to complete your portfolio, do the exam and your observations you can become certified.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And what are you finding in terms of trends? Are more people pursuing these types of credentials and accreditations? What are you seeing there?

Demystifying Accreditation For Child Care Programs

WEBB:

Well, for pursuit of accreditation we definitely see that more and more often – especially with the rise in quality rating systems nationwide – people who are already accredited, now they get this additional benefit because their state has adopted this QRIS system.

But there are several nationwide trends – maybe not so much associated with accreditation – that we’ve heard about from our clients. Definitely that increase in funding – five billion [dollars] in 2019 and another over five billion [dollars] for 2020. It’s just such a wonderful win for our industry.

We also see trends in technology. I think for one of the last industries that still uses fax machines – I know my grandma is guilty of that. We’re seeing more apps in daily trackers for children’s developmental process. Millennial parents, they want that interaction throughout the day, so images or text sent to them.

Definitely along the lines of quality we’re seeing in QRIS systems greater inclusion for culture and language. Colorado is a great example of that: they have such great, high quality standards about family language use in the program.

We are also hearing some concerning terms, unfortunately, from our clients and our credential holders: the emergence of foreign childcare deserts. We don’t know if that’s due to the universal pre-K initiative. If they’re not set up right to support that [age] zero-to-three portion of our programs, we lose them. And that’s really detrimental for both children and parents who need to go back to work and that child needs that education from birth.

And we know there’s the ongoing nationwide teacher crisis. We’re losing those passionate teachers because they just can’t afford to do what they love. So I think that million-dollar question is, how do we keep childcare costs low for our families while still providing that fair compensation to our educators? On top of pursuing quality those are the things that we’re trying to keep an eye on and help our industry with in our own advocacy efforts.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Sounds pretty easy, not too much to cover off there. So what about if I’m running a childcare program and I’m thinking, “I want to pursue this accreditation,” but I don’t know too much about it other than listening to this podcast for 15-20 minutes, what would you recommend as next steps for me?

WEBB:

I’d say that’s no problem. First of all you can always give us a call. We will help you through that process and see if you’re ready just by asking you some simple questions. But our philosophy is that quality is a continuum. There may not be a perfect time to begin this journey towards accreditation. We all wear so many hats in our positions, especially as a director. But just determining your ability to dedicate the time and resources necessary to the process.

If you have extra time where you could do that training for your teachers. Can you take these free resources on our website – such as the checklist – and go in your classrooms and start to do some evaluations and see where you’re at in terms of standards? Just reading the manual is a great way to start. Again, it’s free. We really don’t want to hide any anything that would make a program better. So we offer that as a free resource, again. But just taking time to think about, “Can I pursue this now? And what’s that small step I can take towards quality?”

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And without going through a rigorous accreditation process – let’s say through this screening call, for example, which you mentioned, or maybe something else – can I get in touch with NECPA, or through NECPA resources get a sense of maybe where someone like bigger gaps are about whether I’m ready for accreditation or not?

WEBB:

Yes, we offer a free resource called the Minor Accreditation Workplan. And what that does is, it’s like a 15-step checklist. And it goes through step one of just enrolling and starting out –what does that look like, from all the way through receiving, what’s the day of your visit. So surveying your parents and… it really just walks you through what’s necessary to achieving accreditation without really making a commitment, besides that time that it may take to read that checklist and filling what your goals or deadlines or resources necessary would be for achieving that next step.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And do you find or feel there’s a time that’s too early for accreditation, or too late? For example, do you get programs that are just starting up to also do accreditation? Or is it a recommended waiting period?

WEBB:

So NECPA accreditation, one of our standards is that you have to be in operation for at least a year. You can enroll at any time, though, so if you opened your doors yesterday you can enroll. But we just request that you wait at least a full year before having your visit. And that just means that you have time to really ensure those high-quality teachers to do that evaluation that’s necessary for the accreditation process. And just make sure that your business is successful.

So that one-year period is when we’d like for you to request your visit but there’s never a time that’s too late. Even if you’ve been doing it for 45 years like my grandma tomorrow may be the best day for you to start your journey towards accreditation.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And again, in your experience where do you find that most programs or what areas are programs falling short on the checklist? Are there some themes there?

WEBB:

I think it really varies based off of the program. Programs that are ready to go through accreditation, they’ve already taken that self-evaluation. There’s not anything that really jumps out at me at this moment but that’s something that we could definitely follow up with, maybe as a resource that you can post along with the podcast.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And if I want to go fill out this checklist to start to get a sense of where I’m at, where can I go to find that?

WEBB:

Sure, you can go to www.NECPA.net.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And what about if I want to get in touch with you, Storm? I’m intrigued by our conversation. Is there an e-mail address or a place where I can get in touch with you directly?

WEBB:

Yes, my email directly is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And our team is always available at 855-706-3272, and that’s our direct line.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. And just before we wrap up, one last question: What are the big things you’re seeing out of accredited programs in terms of the change that they’re experiencing once they’ve gone through the accreditation?

WEBB:

I think living accreditation is really just always the pursuit of excellence. It just makes you re-evaluate what your next step as a business is, making sure that you’re always upholding those high standards. I think it just changes a little bit about how you hold yourself and how you hold expectations for your teachers. But if you’re already doing those high-quality practices you may see not too much of a difference besides that awesome plaque that you get on your wall from the accreditation office here.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, it’s kind of like the classic saying of, “The journey is as valuable as the outcome,” right?

WEBB:

Right, you got it.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome, Storm. Thank you so much for joining us on the Preschool Podcast today. It’s been great having you as guest.

WEBB:

Thank you so much, Ron. Look forward to talking again soon, I hope.


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