1. The program must be a licensed child care program or a child care program that is a member in good standing with a nationally recognized faith based program or a nationally recognized educational program; such as the Association of Christian Schools International or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
2. The program must have a substantially compliant licensing history or if not licensed must submit a copy of the local licensing rules and documentation of the programs continued compliance with those rules.
3. Programs must be inspected by the department of health or the Department of Children and Families.. Copies of inspections must be provided along with the portfolio submission.
4. A program must have been licensed and in operation for at least one year. (There is an exception to this rule – see Advanced APPLE)
5. Only in the state of Florida, there is a requirement of membership in the Florida Association for Child Care Management. The association membership is renewed annually.
To begin the APPLE accreditation process, submit the APPLE application and review the manual and self-evaluation checklist found in the members area of our website. The self study is a time for reflection and improvement that requires the development of a portfolio of documentation. The portfolio is submitted to the APPLE program office indicating readiness for verification. The portfolio is reviewed in the APPLE office and if found to be in compliance with the APPLE standards a verifier is assigned. The verifier visits the program to verify compliance with the accreditation standards. The APPLE Commission has final authority to render the accreditation decision after a thorough review of all documentation.
Automatic deferrals occur when the facility is missing or fails to comply with key components of the self-study or verification visit.
Examples of failing to comply with a key component of self-study or verification:
• Complete background screening for all employees.
• Inaccurate or fraudulent submissions or omissions.
• Leaving a child or children unattended.
• Chemicals within the reach of children.
• Failure to account for the children in care.
APPLE Accreditation is initially valid for 3 years with subsequent re-accreditation terms valid for 5 years, provided there is no gap in accreditation.Drop in visits (or audits) are performed randomly through the center's accreditation term to ensure compliance with the APPLE standards.
Yes. There are several reasons for which accreditation can be revoked. Remember that accreditation is a voluntary process of systematic self-evaluation and improvement. The program has made a commitment to quality. Failure to maintain the program quality, unprofessionalism, failure to file annual renewals as well as having the program’s license to operate a child care suspended or revoked may trigger an unannounced verification visit or an APPLE Commission disciplinary review. The outcome of that visit or review will determine the action to be taken. That action may include revocation of accreditation. Failure to maintain FACCM membership is a reason for revocation.
Young children must have early literacy experiences and be exposed to books starting as infants. APPLE requires a variety of books in sufficient numbers to promote sustained interest in literacy for preschoolers, infants, and toddlers. The books must be appropriate to the children’s ages and in good repair. Children must be read to daily and have time to look at books during their free time. The teacher must understand the significance of early literacy and that importance must be reflected in the environment and in the curriculum. So, yes, you need to have books, but early literacy is much more.
Currently we do not. The school-age unit is a certificate endorsement to the preschool (and/or infant/ toddler) accreditation. It is not a stand alone program.
FACCM is currently in the application process for starting a stand alone accreditation for school-age.
I am thinking of retiring and selling my child care business. Is accreditation transferable to new ownership?
Accreditation is not automatically transferable to new ownership. If a center wishes to maintain accredited status, it must submit an Advanced APPLE Application and follow the Advance Process. The Advanced Process provides up to a 9-month provisional accreditation during which time the center will compile an updated portfolio and submit to a verification visit. We recommend calling the APPLE HQ and notifying us of the pending sale and a brief introduction to the new owner. More information can be found here.
"High Reach Learning" Curriculum is going out of business. How do I ensure our school continues to meet APPLE curriculum standards?
Please review section 3.2 of the 2016 APPLE Accreditation Manual (below) and as long as the new curriculum meets our requirements there is nothing else they need to do. During the next required annual update, please reflect the new curriculum change in that update.
Please continue to check in with Office of Early Learning. VPK and School Readiness are required to have OEL approved curriculums.
If your program has moved onto the verification phase, you do NOT need to resubmit the noted deficiencies (as stated in the letter). You will need to fix the deficiencies and submit them with your annual report and future portfolio submissions.
Once you submit an APPLE application you will have 18 months to assemble the portfolio using the self-evaluation checklist. This process depends on an individual program, some centers may spend less time during this step which would condense the accreditation timeline. Depending on when a program submits the portfolio, the review process can take up to 120 days. If the program’s portfolio is accepted it will receive a verification visit within 3 months from the date of portfolio acceptance.
If the center is going through the Advanced Process, please use this document.
Local background screenings are no longer required in my county. Does APPLE require local background checks?
Yes. As stated in your APPLE manual in section 1.6, “Applicable and acceptable documentation for this category includes the FBI Clearance Letter and local law and /or sheriff’s department checks and report from Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Program’s may obtain this information from their local police station or the Clerk of Courts Office. (If locals are not required in your area, the Sheriff’s department will not provide this information for you.)
My center cannot follow the Ratios and Group Size standards as outlined in the APPLE standards and procedures, can I still be come accredited?
The APPLE standards and procedures are outlined as a “best practice” for early learning centers. Ratio and group size standards are not an automatic deferral. You are required to at a minimum follow DCF ratio and group size standards
Educators and children must wash hands for 20 seconds.
Programs that have applied for APPLE accreditation can access on-line courses, policy statements and templates through our Members Area. In addition the APPLE office offers boot-camps throughout the state and on-site technical assistance. To schedule a visit or receive a call back from the APPLE home office follow this link to submit a request.