Welcome to the Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool!

The Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool is a searchable database of early childhood program standards, categorized by topic. Federal and state program standards, as well as other national and state program accreditations, are included in the tool. The goal of the tool is to provide information about various program standards and accreditations to support increased collaboration among early childhood programs.

Purpose

In Texas, there are several sets of program standards that are used by early childhood programs to influence their care and education of young children. Also, there are multiple state and national accreditations available to early childhood programs. The Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool allows users to learn more about these program standards and accreditations by sorting and comparing different sets of standards by relevant categories and subcategories. The Comparison Tool is an initiative of the Texas Early Learning Council, developed in collaboration with Raising Texas, an initiative within the Texas Office of Early Childhood Coordination. 

Appointed by Governor Perry in 2009, the Council supported the early childhood field in Texas through targeted initiatives in four key areas: Data and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, Collaborations and Standards, Parental Outreach and Communications, and Workforce and Professional Development. The Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool is an initiative under the Collaborations and Standards Subcommittee. The Comparison Tool is hosted by the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office, in collaboration with the Council.

The Comparison Tool informs stakeholders about early childhood program standards and accreditations, as well as how these standards and accreditations relate to each other. The Comparison Tool was created to promote collaboration among early childhood programs through learning about the similarities and differences of the standards and accreditations to which programs adhere.

Audience

The Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool was designed to be used by parents, early childhood professionals (including teachers, administrators, providers, and trainers), policymakers, and higher education researchers. Learn more about using the tool.

Methodology and Development

The Council developed the Comparison Tool over three years in collaboration with Raising Texas and the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office. After extensive research on the various federal and state program standards, and state and national accreditations available to early childhood programs, the Council organized the thousands of standards into a series of categories and subcategories related to early care and education. These categories and subcategories are the search options in the Comparison Tool. 

In the development of the comparison tool, program and accreditation standards were placed into categories and subcategories only if the text in the standard directly referred to that subcategory.  For example, generally-worded standards were placed into more general subcategories, like "hygiene and sanitation."  More specific standards were placed into more specific subcategories, like "sleeping" or "diapering and toileting."  Always review standards in contect of other subcategories that refer to similar information, such as "diapering and toileting" and "hygiene and santitation."  For the accreditation standards, because programs who choose to earn an accreditation must also adhere to applicable state and federal program standards, also review the state or federal standards that a program must follow.  For example, a child care center with a NAEYC accreditation will also follow the Texas DFPS Child Care Licensing Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers.

The Comparison Tool’s online features were developed with extensive stakeholder input and feedback. The national accrediting organizations were offered the opportunity to provide feedback on the categorization of their standards.  To support collaboration among early childhood programs, the goal of the Comparison Tool is usability for all stakeholders. To this end, the Council hosted focus groups on usability with parents, practitioners, and policymakers to determine the important features to include in the Comparison Tool. Also, the Standards at a Glance tables were developed after a stakeholder survey of the most important subcategories from the Comparison Tool.

Acknowledgements

The Texas Early Learning Council would like to thank the following organizations and people for their time and commitment to this project.

Raising Texas, an initiative within the Texas Office of Early Childhood Coordination

Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office

Children’s Learning Institute

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System Advisory Council

Members of the Comparison Tool Focus Groups

University of Houston-Clear Lake faculty and students: Dr. Donna Kirkwood, Tanya Davis, Sarah Fillman, and Cherilin Saladrigas

Texas Education Agency

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Texas Workforce Commission

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start

Association of Christian Schools International

Council on Accreditation

National Accreditation Commission

National AfterSchool Association

National Association for the Education of Young Children

National Association for Family Child Care

National Early Childhood Program Accreditation