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Maryland State Department of Education Extends Maryland Accreditation to a Five-Year Status


John White, 410-767-0486


Maryland State Department of Education Extends Maryland Accreditation to a Five-Year Status

Extension Paves the Way for Expanded Access to High-Quality Child Care and Early Education in Maryland 


BALTIMORE (April 17, 2024) – Today, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced that Maryland Accreditation for licensed child care centers and public early childhood education programs will be extended from a three-year status to a five-year status. The extension is expected to have an immediate impact on 991 child care centers, Head Start programs, and public prekindergarten (Pre-K) programs across the state. It will extend the status of programs already recognized by Maryland Accreditation for their commitment to high-quality early education.

Maryland Accreditation is a voluntary process in which child care centers, Head Starts, school-age-only programs, and public Pre-Ks demonstrate their commitment to excellence in early learning by identifying needs for improvement, implementing new best practices, and validating their program’s growth through observation and evaluation. Once programs achieve accreditation, they must continue to improve their services through re-accreditation to maintain their status.

“The extension to a five-year status is based on overwhelming supportive feedback from our child care community,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carey Wright. “This change will provide much-needed time for programs to gather input from families and staff and to reflect on meeting the needs of their communities. Our goal is to run a meaningful improvement process that results in a high percentage of programs achieving accreditation.” 

Increased participation in Maryland Accreditation is another expected benefit of this change, with programs providing public Pre-K services being no exception. Through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, these programs are required to achieve Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 5–the highest possible quality rating and an achievement only possible through accreditation.

“An increased number of programs achieving Maryland Accreditation ensures that families across our state will be served by providers and teachers that exemplify the best in early childhood education,” said Division of Early Childhood/Quality Improvement Initiatives Director, Jena Smith. 

Maryland Accreditation is a quality improvement initiative of MSDE’s Division of Early Childhood. Child care centers, Head Start programs, school-age only programs, and public Pre-K programs seeking more information about pursuing Maryland Accreditation may visit our website at


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