Date of Award

Fall October 2013

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano

Second Advisor

Edmundo F. Litton

Third Advisor

Ani N. Shabazian


The following is a doctoral dissertation that studied administrators’, teachers’, and parents’ perceptions and attitudes related to an early childhood center/preschool accreditation experience. A qualitative case study of one preschool center focused on the influence that the decision to pursue accreditation and implement the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) self-study process had on administrators, teachers, and parents. Interviews with administrators, teachers, and parents explored (a) issues that motivated the pursuit of NAEYC accreditation; (b) the NAEYC guidelines and their experience of the self-study and quality-improvement process; and (c) their perception of outcomes following accreditation. Current NAEYC guidelines are based on key child development theories and research, and require programs to integrate Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) in school curricula and staff training. It was necessary to explore how these NAEYC recommendations regarding DAP were interpreted during the quality-improvement and accreditation process. Key themes and issues around the accreditation experience were revealed through analyses of qualitative data. This case study of NAEYC accreditation illuminated factors in the decision to pursue accreditation and implement quality improvements leading to NAEYC accreditation. This case may serve as a model of a successful accreditation process to encourage early childhood centers to undertake quality improvements and pursue national NAEYC accreditation.