What is accreditation?
When a program is accredited it shows that they have reached a higher level of quality programming, staff qualifications and policy development. A program can be accredited after it demonstrates that it has worked through a prescribed and rigorous process to provide a higher standard of Quality Early Learning and Care for the children and families in its care.
Here are a few examples:

* Children are cared for by adults who are trained in early childhood education.
* Children can choose from a variety of Montessori work choices that support varying skill levels and interests.
* The child care centre promotes literacy.
* helping services and families to work together towards common goals
* setting standards of quality care and strengthening best practices within the profession
* supporting on-going improvement through re-accreditation every three years
Accreditation differs from licensing because it is a voluntary program which aims to improve quality of care.

Licensing is required by law and is intended to meet all health and safety standards such as space, range of equipment, number and ages of children, staff/child ratios  Such factors contribute to quality, but are only minimum standards.Accreditation shifts the focus from meeting minimum standards to continuously striving towards providing higher levels of care.  Accreditation sets standards of high quality and recognizes achievement and excellence.  Its purpose is to achieve a high standard of practice.
The Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services (AELCS) evaluates child care centers against standards that were developed together with Alberta Children’s Services / Alberta Human Services Dept and the child care sector.  AELCS grants accreditation status to those agencies/ services that meet standards for high quality child care.  The accreditation program helps parents identify and choose high quality child care programs for their children.  Information about your child’s program will be more accessible.  Children learn and grow best in programs that provide quality care and activities. Accreditation recognizes quality.