Accreditation is a method by which a program demonstrates to an outside organization or agency that the program is meeting the quality standards set by that organization. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recognizes national accrediting organizations as aligning with the overall mission and high standards for early childhood, public prekindergarten and school-age child care programs. Quality Assurance Specialists offer guidance and support to programs seeking accreditation. Additionally, the Accreditation Support Fund is available to assist programs with the cost of national accreditation fees and reimbursement of expenses related to Maryland Accreditation.
To recognize the importance of meeting and demonstrating standards at this highest level of quality, Maryland EXCELS participating programs must achieve accreditation in order to reach a Quality Rating 5. In addition, accredited programs entering Maryland EXCELS will receive credit for requirements already demonstrated to the accrediting organization.
Recognized Accrediting Organizations
- American Montessori Society (AMS)
- Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA)
- Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS)
- Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)
- Cognia Early Learning Accreditation
- Council on Accreditation – After-School Accreditation (COA/ASA)
- Maryland Accreditation (MSDE)
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
- National Accreditation Commission (NAC)
- National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
Updated: January 2023