Introduction to Accreditation
Accreditation promotes excellence in child care settings in Alberta and helps families choose the best care for their children. It is based on standards of excellence that reflect current research and leading practices to provide high quality child care over and above provincial licensing regulations and family day home standards for children from birth to 12 years of age.
Accreditation has been available to licensed day care centres and approved family day home agencies since 2004, and was extended to include licensed out-of-school care programs in 2009.
View Alberta Child Care Accreditation Standards
View Alberta Child Care Accreditation Standards (French)
Enrolling in accreditation is voluntary and available to all licensed day care centres, approved family day home agencies and licensed out-of-school care programs in Alberta.
Child care programs that enroll in accreditation go through a comprehensive self-evaluation of its services and policies including:
- identifying areas for improvement,
- creating a quality enhancement plan and
- implementing developed strategies
This process takes several months to complete. Once a program is confident it is delivering quality child care based on the standards of accreditation and is ready for the formal evaluation, it requests Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services to conduct an on-site assessment (site visit). During this assessment, the accreditation agency will collect and review program's evidence and complete observations to validate whether the program has met the accreditation standards. When the program is successful it is awarded an accreditation certificate that is valid for three years.
Accredited programs are expected to continue to meet the accreditation standards over the 3 year term, as well as continuously develop and implement strategies guided by their Quality Enhancement Plan. Accredited programs undergo Annual Reports to maintain their accreditation status and complete an on-site accreditation evaluation every three years to renew their status. Accredited programs may also receive a Status Verification Visit at any time throughout their accreditation term.
Learn more about the full cycle of the accreditation process.