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The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (ECQA Center) is pleased to provide this online program standards crosswalk tool that is prepopulated with national early childhood program standards (e.g., Head Start, accreditation, Caring for our Children).  This tool is designed to help States that are developing and aligning program standards for licensing, quality rating and improvement systems, and/or prekindergarten programs, to search and compare the content of several sets of national standards.



Program standards describe the expected structure and practices of early care and education settings and often represent definitions of quality that aim to have a positive impact on children’s learning and development. Standards are just one element of a system for continuous program quality improvement. Standards must work in concert with rigorous program assessment and monitoring processes, supports for programs seeking to improve quality (e.g., improvement plans, technical assistance, professional development, etc.), meaningful incentives for improvement, and mechanisms to inform consumers and the public about quality improvement efforts and achievements.


The early care and education field has multiple sets of program standards, and the content of those standards varies widely. States seeking to develop quality improvement systems often engage in a process to review and align the content of various program standards available in the field. Early care and education providers are better able to understand the path to high quality care when the various standards they must meet have similar categories of standards and use consistent terminology. This National Program Standards Crosswalk Tool was developed to help States and save them time and money by making several sets of national standards available in one online database with an easy-to-use search mechanism.


Statement of Intended Use


The National Program Standards Crosswalk Tool was developed for state policy makers interested in aligning state and national program standards. It is not intended as a guide for programs seeking to meet these standards or achieve accreditation. The accreditation standards included in this tool are from copyrighted materials. Users must contact the agencies and organizations that administer those standards to receive a complete set of the standards and additional guidance. Contact information is available in the About the Standards section.



To find and view comparable standards using the Crosswalk tool, follow these four steps: