Licensing and Accreditation

DSS Licensing

ECDC is state licensed by the Department of Social Services, license #17626. Our license renews every two years in September. Information about how South Carolina licenses and monitors programs providing child care can be found at the DSS website. The licensing process includes monitoring of health and safety by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

NAEYC Accreditation

A number of research reports conclude that high quality early childhood experiences have long-term positive developmental and economic effects. ECDC was initially accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2005. Our program ID# is 279292; we were most recently re-accredited in May 2021 through November 1, 2026.

NAEYC is a voluntary accreditation process driven by ten program standards that include over 400 quality indicators, accomplished through evidence-driven reporting, an on-site visit, and evaluation of program materials by the Academy in Washington, DC. Accreditation is a multi-step process, which gives the program time to:

  • reflect on the standards
  • involve all program stakeholders in self-study
  • document qualifications of staff
  • prepare portfolio narratives and supporting evidence for each classroom and the program as a whole.

The NAEYC process is rigorous; while there are over 7000 accredited programs world-wide, only a handful of programs in the greater Charleston area are currently accredited. Once a program becomes accredited, status is maintained by review of annual reports, and the program begins the five year re-accreditation cycle again.

We believe our mission as a demonstration/laboratory preschool demands we provide a program of the highest possible quality; engaging in the NAEYC accreditation provides us the opportunity to regularly examine our practices in the context of current research on how to best support families and the early childhood learning process. As a resource for our community and part of a public institution of higher education, we are also committed to sharing resources that may help other programs in their efforts to provide high quality early childhood education. Therefore, we used an electronic folio process so we could share our work with others. 

Please contact Katie Houser for more information

Program folio

Comprehensive information about the NAEYC accreditation process can be found at:

NCATE Accreditation

As part of the School of Education (SOE), ECDC functions as a partner in many ways, and provides supporting evidence for the SOE accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

Several hundred students from the SOE visit, observe, or do practicum activities and experiences at ECDC each year. Our lead teachers are trained in the ADEPT teacher evaluation and supervision system. Among our staff of student employees are five graduate assistants and 20-25 education majors.


The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). ECDC as an academic support unit, participates in the ongoing program improvement accreditation and reporting processes.

Nature Explore Certification

In July 2012, we were awarded certification as the first program in South Carolina to be designated a NatureExplore (NE) classroom. NatureExplore is a collaborative project between the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. NE classrooms are part of a growing network of organizations and programs committed to providing effective outdoor learning environments for children, and to make nature part of their daily lives. You can learn more about NatureExplore on their website. The document posted below was submitted as a supplement to the narrative application to provide photo-documentation.


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