Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment - naeyc

 
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POSITION STATEMENT

        Code of Ethical Conduct
        and Statement of Commitment
                                                                                              Revised April 2005,
                                                                                Reaffirmed and Updated May 2011

        A position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children

                                                         Endorsed by the Association for Childhood Education International and
                                                                                          Southern Early Childhood Association
                                                                        Adopted by the National Association for Family Child Care

                       Preamble                                    Core values
NAEYC recognizes that those who work with young                    Standards of ethical behavior in early childhood care
children face many daily decisions that have moral and             and education are based on commitment to the follow-
ethical implications. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct            ing core values that are deeply rooted in the history of
offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a        the field of early childhood care and education. We have
common basis for resolving the principal ethical dilemmas          made a commitment to
encountered in early childhood care and education. The
                                                                   • Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of
Statement of Commitment is not part of the Code but is a
                                                                   the human life cycle
personal acknowledgement of an individual’s willingness to
                                                                   • Base our work on knowledge of how children develop
embrace the distinctive values and moral obligations of the
                                                                   and learn
field of early childhood care and education.
   The primary focus of the Code is on daily practice with         • Appreciate and support the bond between the child
children and their families in programs for children from birth    and family
through 8 years of age, such as infant/toddler programs,           • Recognize that children are best understood and sup-
preschool and prekindergarten programs, child care centers,        ported in the context of family, culture,* community, and
hospital and child life settings, family child care homes,         society
kindergartens, and primary classrooms. When the issues             • Respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each
involve young children, then these provisions also apply to        individual (child, family member, and colleague)
specialists who do not work directly with children, including      • Respect diversity in children, families, and colleagues
program administrators, parent educators, early childhood          • Recognize that children and adults achieve their full
adult educators, and officials with responsibility for program     potential in the context of relationships that are based
monitoring and licensing. (Note: See also the “Code of Ethi-       on trust and respect
cal Conduct: Supplement for Early Childhood Adult Educa-
tors,” online at www.naeyc.org/about/positions/pdf/ethics04.
pdf. and the “Code of Ethical Conduct: Supplement for Early        * The term culture includes ethnicity, racial identity, economic
Childhood Program Administrators,” online at http://www.           level, family structure, language, and religious and political beliefs,
                                                                   which profoundly influence each child’s development and relation-
naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSETH05_supp.pdf)             ship to the world.

                          Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                          2                                              Revised May 2011

Conceptual framework                                                       ted to supporting children’s development and learning;
                                                                           respecting individual differences; and helping children
The Code sets forth a framework of professional respon-                    learn to live, play, and work cooperatively. We are also
sibilities in four sections. Each section addresses an area                committed to promoting children’s self-awareness, com-
of professional relationships: (1) with children, (2) with                 petence, self-worth, resiliency, and physical well-being.
families, (3) among colleagues, and (4) with the commu-
nity and society. Each section includes an introduction                    Ideals
to the primary responsibilities of the early childhood                     I-1.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base of early
practitioner in that context. The introduction is followed                   childhood care and education and to stay informed
by a set of ideals (I) that reflect exemplary professional                   through continuing education and training.
practice and by a set of principles (P) describing prac-
                                                                           I-1.2—To base program practices upon current knowl-
tices that are required, prohibited, or permitted.
                                                                             edge and research in the field of early childhood educa-
   The ideals reflect the aspirations of practitioners.
                                                                             tion, child development, and related disciplines, as well
The principles guide conduct and assist practitioners in
                                                                             as on particular knowledge of each child.
resolving ethical dilemmas.* Both ideals and principles
are intended to direct practitioners to those questions                    I-1.3—To recognize and respect the unique qualities,
which, when responsibly answered, can provide the                            abilities, and potential of each child.
basis for conscientious decision making. While the Code                    I-1.4—To appreciate the vulnerability of children and
provides specific direction for addressing some ethical                      their dependence on adults.
dilemmas, many others will require the practitioner to                     I-1.5—To create and maintain safe and healthy settings
combine the guidance of the Code with professional                           that foster children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and
judgment.                                                                    physical development and that respect their dignity
   The ideals and principles in this Code present a                          and their contributions.
shared framework of professional responsibility that                       I-1.6—To use assessment instruments and strategies
affirms our commitment to the core values of our field.                      that are appropriate for the children to be assessed,
The Code publicly acknowledges the responsibilities                          that are used only for the purposes for which they
that we in the field have assumed, and in so doing sup-                      were designed, and that have the potential to benefit
ports ethical behavior in our work. Practitioners who                        children.
face situations with ethical dimensions are urged to seek                  I-1.7—To use assessment information to understand
guidance in the applicable parts of this Code and in the                     and support children’s development and learning, to
spirit that informs the whole.                                               support instruction, and to identify children who may
   Often “the right answer”—the best ethical course of                       need additional services.
action to take—is not obvious. There may be no readily
                                                                           I-1.8—To support the right of each child to play and
apparent, positive way to handle a situation. When one
                                                                             learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs
important value contradicts another, we face an ethical
                                                                             of children with and without disabilities.
dilemma. When we face a dilemma, it is our professional
responsibility to consult the Code and all relevant par-                   I-1.9—To advocate for and ensure that all children,
ties to find the most ethical resolution.                                    including those with special needs, have access to the
                                                                             support services needed to be successful.
                                                                           I-1.10—To ensure that each child’s culture, language,
                                                                             ethnicity, and family structure are recognized and val-
   Section I                                                                 ued in the program.
                                                                           I-1.11—To provide all children with experiences in a
Ethical Responsibilities to Children                                         language that they know, as well as support children
                                                                             in maintaining the use of their home language and in
Childhood is a unique and valuable stage in the human                        learning English.
life cycle. Our paramount responsibility is to provide
                                                                           I-1.12—To work with families to provide a safe and
care and education in settings that are safe, healthy,
                                                                             smooth transition as children and families move from
nurturing, and responsive for each child. We are commit-
                                                                             one program to the next.

* There is not necessarily a corresponding principle for each ideal.

                            Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                   3                                                   Revised May 2011

Principles                                                           principle may not apply in programs that have a lawful
                                                                     mandate to provide services to a particular population
P-1.1—Above all, we shall not harm children. We shall                of children.)
 not participate in practices that are emotionally dam-
                                                                    P-1.8—We shall be familiar with the risk factors for and
 aging, physically harmful, disrespectful, degrading,
                                                                     symptoms of child abuse and neglect, including physi-
 dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children.
                                                                     cal, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse and physical,
 This principle has precedence over all others in
                                                                     emotional, educational, and medical neglect. We shall
 this Code.
                                                                     know and follow state laws and community procedures
P-1.2—We shall care for and educate children in positive             that protect children against abuse and neglect.
 emotional and social environments that are cognitively
                                                                    P-1.9—When we have reasonable cause to suspect child
 stimulating and that support each child’s culture, lan-
                                                                     abuse or neglect, we shall report it to the appropri-
 guage, ethnicity, and family structure.
                                                                     ate community agency and follow up to ensure that
P-1.3—We shall not participate in practices that discrimi-           appropriate action has been taken. When appropriate,
 nate against children by denying benefits, giving special           parents or guardians will be informed that the referral
 advantages, or excluding them from programs or                      will be or has been made.
 activities on the basis of their sex, race, national origin,
                                                                    P-1.10—When another person tells us of his or her
 immigration status, preferred home language, religious
                                                                     suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected, we
 beliefs, medical condition, disability, or the marital
                                                                     shall assist that person in taking appropriate action in
 status/family structure, sexual orientation, or religious
                                                                     order to protect the child.
 beliefs or other affiliations of their families. (Aspects of
 this principle do not apply in programs that have a law-           P-1.11—When we become aware of a practice or situa-
 ful mandate to provide services to a particular popula-             tion that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of
 tion of children.)                                                  children, we have an ethical responsibility to protect
                                                                     children or inform parents and/or others who can.
P-1.4—We shall use two-way communications to involve
 all those with relevant knowledge (including families
 and staff) in decisions concerning a child, as appropri-
 ate, ensuring confidentiality of sensitive information.               Section II
 (See also P-2.4.)
P-1.5—We shall use appropriate assessment systems,                  Ethical Responsibilities to Families
 which include multiple sources of information, to
 provide information on children’s learning and devel-              Families* are of primary importance in children’s de-
 opment.                                                            velopment. Because the family and the early childhood
                                                                    practitioner have a common interest in the child’s well-
P-1.6—We shall strive to ensure that decisions such as
                                                                    being, we acknowledge a primary responsibility to bring
 those related to enrollment, retention, or assignment
                                                                    about communication, cooperation, and collaboration
 to special education services, will be based on mul-
                                                                    between the home and early childhood program in ways
 tiple sources of information and will never be based
                                                                    that enhance the child’s development.
 on a single assessment, such as a test score or a single
 observation.
                                                                    Ideals
P-1.7—We shall strive to build individual relationships
 with each child; make individualized adaptations in                I-2.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base related to
 teaching strategies, learning environments, and cur-                 working effectively with families and to stay informed
 ricula; and consult with the family so that each child               through continuing education and training.
 benefits from the program. If after such efforts have              I-2.2—To develop relationships of mutual trust and cre-
 been exhausted, the current placement does not meet                  ate partnerships with the families we serve.
 a child’s needs, or the child is seriously jeopardizing            I-2.3—To welcome all family members and encourage
 the ability of other children to benefit from the pro-               them to participate in the program, including involve-
 gram, we shall collaborate with the child’s family and               ment in shared decision making.
 appropriate specialists to determine the additional
 services needed and/or the placement option(s) most                * The term family may include those adults, besides parents, with
 likely to ensure the child’s success. (Aspects of this             the responsibility of being involved in educating, nurturing, and
                                                                    advocating for the child.

                         Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                  4                                                Revised May 2011

I-2.4—To listen to families, acknowledge and build upon            P-2-7—We shall inform families about the nature and
  their strengths and competencies, and learn from                  purpose of the program’s child assessments and how
  families as we support them in their task of nurturing            data about their child will be used.
  children.                                                        P-2.8—We shall treat child assessment information con-
I-2.5—To respect the dignity and preferences of each                fidentially and share this information only when there
  family and to make an effort to learn about its struc-            is a legitimate need for it.
  ture, culture, language, customs, and beliefs to ensure          P-2.9—We shall inform the family of injuries and inci-
  a culturally consistent environment for all children and          dents involving their child, of risks such as exposures
  families.                                                         to communicable diseases that might result in infec-
I-2.6—To acknowledge families’ childrearing values and              tion, and of occurrences that might result in emotional
  their right to make decisions for their children.                 stress.
I-2.7—To share information about each child’s educa-               P-2.10—Families shall be fully informed of any proposed
  tion and development with families and to help them               research projects involving their children and shall
  understand and appreciate the current knowledge base              have the opportunity to give or withhold consent
  of the early childhood profession.                                without penalty. We shall not permit or participate in
I-2.8—To help family members enhance their under-                   research that could in any way hinder the education,
  standing of their children, as staff are enhancing their          development, or well-being of children.
  understanding of each child through communications               P-2.11—We shall not engage in or support exploitation
  with families, and support family members in the con-             of families. We shall not use our relationship with a
  tinuing development of their skills as parents.                   family for private advantage or personal gain, or enter
I-2.9—To foster families’ efforts to build support net-             into relationships with family members that might im-
  works and, when needed, participate in building                   pair our effectiveness working with their children.
  networks for families by providing them with oppor-              P-2.12—We shall develop written policies for the protec-
  tunities to interact with program staff, other families,          tion of confidentiality and the disclosure of children’s
  community resources, and professional services.                   records. These policy documents shall be made avail-
                                                                    able to all program personnel and families. Disclosure
Principles                                                          of children’s records beyond family members, program
                                                                    personnel, and consultants having an obligation of
P-2.1—We shall not deny family members access to their              confidentiality shall require familial consent (except in
 child’s classroom or program setting unless access is              cases of abuse or neglect).
 denied by court order or other legal restriction.
                                                                   P-2.13—We shall maintain confidentiality and shall re-
P-2.2—We shall inform families of program philosophy,               spect the family’s right to privacy, refraining from dis-
 policies, curriculum, assessment system, cultural prac-            closure of confidential information and intrusion into
 tices, and personnel qualifications, and explain why we            family life. However, when we have reason to believe
 teach as we do—which should be in accordance with                  that a child’s welfare is at risk, it is permissible to share
 our ethical responsibilities to children (see Section I).          confidential information with agencies, as well as with
P-2.3—We shall inform families of and, when appropri-               individuals who have legal responsibility for interven-
 ate, involve them in policy decisions. (See also I-2.3.)           ing in the child’s interest.
P-2.4—We shall ensure that the family is involved in sig-          P-2.14—In cases where family members are in conflict
 nificant decisions affecting their child. (See also P-1.4.)        with one another, we shall work openly, sharing our
P-2.5—We shall make every effort to communicate effec-              observations of the child, to help all parties involved
 tively with all families in a language that they under-            make informed decisions. We shall refrain from becom-
 stand. We shall use community resources for transla-               ing an advocate for one party.
 tion and interpretation when we do not have sufficient            P-2.15—We shall be familiar with and appropriately refer
 resources in our own programs.                                     families to community resources and professional sup-
P-2.6—As families share information with us about their             port services. After a referral has been made, we shall
 children and families, we shall ensure that families’ input        follow up to ensure that services have been appropri-
 is an important contribution to the planning and imple-            ately provided.
 mentation of the program.

                        Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                  5                                                Revised May 2011

                                                                   P-3A.3—We shall exercise care in expressing views
  Section III                                                       regarding the personal attributes or professional
                                                                    conduct of co-workers. Statements should be based on
Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues                              firsthand knowledge, not hearsay, and relevant to the
In a caring, cooperative workplace, human dignity is re-            interests of children and programs.
spected, professional satisfaction is promoted, and posi-
                                                                   P-3A.4—We shall not participate in practices that dis-
tive relationships are developed and sustained. Based
                                                                    criminate against a co-worker because of sex, race, na-
upon our core values, our primary responsibility to
                                                                    tional origin, religious beliefs or other affiliations, age,
colleagues is to establish and maintain settings and rela-
                                                                    marital status/family structure, disability, or sexual
tionships that support productive work and meet profes-
                                                                    orientation.
sional needs. The same ideals that apply to children also
apply as we interact with adults in the workplace. (Note:
Section III includes responsibilities to co-workers and to
employers. See the “Code of Ethical Conduct: Supple-               B—Responsibilities to employers
ment for Early Childhood Program Administrators” for
responsibilities to personnel (employees in the original           Ideals
2005 Code revision), online at http://www.naeyc.org/               I-3B.1—To assist the program in providing the highest
files/naeyc/file/positions/PSETH05_supp.pdf.)                        quality of service.
                                                                   I-3B.2—To do nothing that diminishes the reputation
                                                                     of the program in which we work unless it is violating
A—Responsibilities to co-workers                                     laws and regulations designed to protect children or is
                                                                     violating the provisions of this Code.
Ideals
                                                                   Principles
I-3A.1—To establish and maintain relationships of re-
  spect, trust, confidentiality, collaboration, and coop-          P-3B.1—We shall follow all program policies. When we
  eration with co-workers.                                          do not agree with program policies, we shall attempt
I-3A.2—To share resources with co-workers, collaborat-              to effect change through constructive action within the
  ing to ensure that the best possible early childhood              organization.
  care and education program is provided.                          P-3B.2—We shall speak or act on behalf of an organiza-
I-3A.3—To support co-workers in meeting their profes-               tion only when authorized. We shall take care to ac-
  sional needs and in their professional development.               knowledge when we are speaking for the organization
I-3A.4—To accord co-workers due recognition of profes-              and when we are expressing a personal judgment.
  sional achievement.                                              P-3B.3—We shall not violate laws or regulations de-
                                                                    signed to protect children and shall take appropriate
Principles                                                          action consistent with this Code when aware of such
                                                                    violations.
P-3A.1—We shall recognize the contributions of col-
                                                                   P-3B.4—If we have concerns about a colleague’s be-
 leagues to our program and not participate in practices
                                                                    havior, and children’s well-being is not at risk, we may
 that diminish their reputations or impair their effec-
                                                                    address the concern with that individual. If children
 tiveness in working with children and families.
                                                                    are at risk or the situation does not improve after it has
P-3A.2—When we have concerns about the professional                 been brought to the colleague’s attention, we shall re-
 behavior of a co-worker, we shall first let that person            port the colleague’s unethical or incompetent behavior
 know of our concern in a way that shows respect for                to an appropriate authority.
 personal dignity and for the diversity to be found
                                                                   P-3B.5—When we have a concern about circumstances
 among staff members, and then attempt to resolve the
                                                                    or conditions that impact the quality of care and
 matter collegially and in a confidential manner.
                                                                    education within the program, we shall inform the
                                                                    program’s administration or, when necessary, other
                                                                    appropriate authorities.

                        Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                  6                                              Revised May 2011

                                                                   I-4.3—To work through education, research, and advo-
  Section IV
                                                                     cacy toward an environmentally safe world in which
                                                                     all children receive health care, food, and shelter; are
Ethical Responsibilities to Community                                nurtured; and live free from violence in their home and
and Society                                                          their communities.
Early childhood programs operate within the context                I-4.4—To work through education, research, and ad-
of their immediate community made up of families and                 vocacy toward a society in which all young children
other institutions concerned with children’s welfare.                have access to high-quality early care and education
Our responsibilities to the community are to provide                 programs.
programs that meet the diverse needs of families, to               I-4.5—To work to ensure that appropriate assessment
cooperate with agencies and professions that share the               systems, which include multiple sources of informa-
responsibility for children, to assist families in gaining           tion, are used for purposes that benefit children.
access to those agencies and allied professionals, and to          I-4.6—To promote knowledge and understanding of
assist in the development of community programs that                 young children and their needs. To work toward
are needed but not currently available.                              greater societal acknowledgment of children’s rights
   As individuals, we acknowledge our responsibility to              and greater social acceptance of responsibility for the
provide the best possible programs of care and educa-                well-being of all children.
tion for children and to conduct ourselves with honesty            I-4.7—To support policies and laws that promote the
and integrity. Because of our specialized expertise                  well-being of children and families, and to work to
in early childhood development and education and                     change those that impair their well-being. To partici-
because the larger society shares responsibility for the             pate in developing policies and laws that are needed,
welfare and protection of young children, we acknowl-                and to cooperate with families and other individuals
edge a collective obligation to advocate for the best                and groups in these efforts.
interests of children within early childhood programs
                                                                   I-4.8—To further the professional development of the
and in the larger community and to serve as a voice for
                                                                     field of early childhood care and education and to
young children everywhere.
                                                                     strengthen its commitment to realizing its core values
   The ideals and principles in this section are presented
                                                                     as reflected in this Code.
to distinguish between those that pertain to the work of
the individual early childhood educator and those that
more typically are engaged in collectively on behalf of            Principles (Individual)
the best interests of children—with the understanding              P-4.1—We shall communicate openly and truthfully
that individual early childhood educators have a shared             about the nature and extent of services that we pro-
responsibility for addressing the ideals and principles             vide.
that are identified as “collective.”                               P-4.2—We shall apply for, accept, and work in positions
                                                                    for which we are personally well-suited and profession-
Ideal (Individual)                                                  ally qualified. We shall not offer services that we do not
1-4.1—To provide the community with high-quality early              have the competence, qualifications, or resources to
 childhood care and education programs and services.                provide.
                                                                   P-4.3—We shall carefully check references and shall not
Ideals (Collective)                                                 hire or recommend for employment any person whose
                                                                    competence, qualifications, or character makes him or
I-4.2—To promote cooperation among professionals and
                                                                    her unsuited for the position.
  agencies and interdisciplinary collaboration among
  professions concerned with addressing issues in the              P-4.4—We shall be objective and accurate in report-
  health, education, and well-being of young children,              ing the knowledge upon which we base our program
  their families, and their early childhood educators.              practices.
                                                                   P-4.5—We shall be knowledgeable about the appropri-
                                                                    ate use of assessment strategies and instruments and
                                                                    interpret results accurately to families.

                        Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                   7                                              Revised May 2011

P-4.6—We shall be familiar with laws and regulations                Principles (Collective)
 that serve to protect the children in our programs and
                                                                    P-4.11—When policies are enacted for purposes that do
 be vigilant in ensuring that these laws and regulations
                                                                     not benefit children, we have a collective responsibility
 are followed.
                                                                     to work to change these policies.
P-4.7—When we become aware of a practice or situa-
                                                                    P-4-12—When we have evidence that an agency that
 tion that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of
                                                                     provides services intended to ensure children’s well-
 children, we have an ethical responsibility to protect
                                                                     being is failing to meet its obligations, we acknowledge
 children or inform parents and/or others who can.
                                                                     a collective ethical responsibility to report the problem
P-4.8—We shall not participate in practices that are in
                                                                     to appropriate authorities or to the public. We shall be
 violation of laws and regulations that protect the chil-
                                                                     vigilant in our follow-up until the situation is resolved.
 dren in our programs.
                                                                    P-4.13—When a child protection agency fails to provide
P-4.9—When we have evidence that an early childhood
                                                                     adequate protection for abused or neglected children,
 program is violating laws or regulations protecting
                                                                     we acknowledge a collective ethical responsibility to
 children, we shall report the violation to appropriate au-
                                                                     work toward the improvement of these services.
 thorities who can be expected to remedy the situation.
P-4.10—When a program violates or requires its em-
 ployees to violate this Code, it is permissible, after fair
 assessment of the evidence, to disclose the identity of
 that program.

                         Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                     8                                                    Revised May 2011

                              Glossary of Terms Related to Ethics
  Code of Ethics­. Defines the core values of the field and             and enhances the personal morality practitioners
   provides guidance for what professionals should                      bring to their work, that concern actions of right and
   do when they encounter conflicting obligations or                    wrong in the workplace, and that help individuals re-
   responsibilities in their work.­­                                    solve moral dilemmas they encounter in their work.­­
  Values­­. Qualities or principles that individuals believe          Ethical Responsibilities­­. Behaviors that one must
   to be desirable or worthwhile and that they prize for                or must not engage in. Ethical responsibilities are
   themselves, for others, and for the world in which                   clear-cut and are spelled out in the Code of Ethical
   they live.­­                                                         Conduct (for example, early childhood educators
  Core Values­. Commitments held by a profession that                   should never share confidential information about a
   are consciously and knowingly embraced by its                        child or family with a person who has no legitimate
   practitioners because they make a contribution to                    need for knowing).­­
   society. There is a difference between personal val-               Ethical Dilemma­. A moral conflict that involves
   ues and the core values of a profession.­­                           determining appropriate conduct when an indi-
  Morality­­. Peoples’ views of what is good, right, and                vidual faces conflicting professional values and
   proper; their beliefs about their obligations; and                   responsibilities.­­
   their ideas about how they should behave.­­
  Ethics­­. The study of right and wrong, or duty and                 Sources for glossary terms and definitions
    obligation, that involves critical reflection on moral-           Feeney, S., & N. Freeman. 2005. Ethics and the early childhood
    ity and the ability to make choices between values                  educator: Using the NAEYC code. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
    and the examination of the moral dimensions of                    Kidder, R.M. 1995. How good people make tough choices: Resolv-
    relationships.­­                                                    ing the dilemmas of ethical living. New York: Fireside.
                                                                      Kipnis, K. 1987. How to discuss professional ethics. Young Chil-
  Professional Ethics­­. The moral commitments of a                     dren 42 (4): 26–30.
   profession that involve moral reflection that extends

   The National Association for the Education of Young Chil-          research or developments may change the current state
dren (NAEYC) is a nonprofit corporation, tax exempt under             of knowledge. Neither NAEYC nor its officers, directors,
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, dedicated to          members, employees, or agents will be liable for any loss,
acting on behalf of the needs and interests of young children.        damage, or claim with respect to any liabilities, including
The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct (Code) has been de-                 direct, special, indirect, or consequential damages incurred
veloped in furtherance of NAEYC’s nonprofit and tax exempt            in connection with the Code or reliance on the information
purposes. The information contained in the Code is intended           presented.­­
to provide early childhood educators with guidelines for work-
ing with children from birth through age 8.
   An individual’s or program’s use, reference to, or review
of the Code does not guarantee compliance with NAEYC                               NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct­­
Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Per-                             2005 Revisions Workgroup
formance Criteria and program accreditation procedures. It is
recommended that the Code be used as guidance in connec-                 Mary Ambery­, Ruth Ann Ball, James Clay, Julie Olsen
tion with implementation of the NAEYC Program Standards,                 Edwards, Harriet Egertson, Anthony Fair, Stephanie
but such use is not a substitute for diligent review and appli-          Feeney, Jana Fleming, Nancy Freeman, Marla Israel,
cation of the NAEYC Program Standards.­­                                 Allison McKinnon, Evelyn Wright Moore, Eva Moravcik,
   NAEYC has taken reasonable measures to develop the                    Christina Lopez Morgan, Sarah Mulligan, Nila Rinehart,
Code in a fair, reasonable, open, unbiased, and objective                Betty Holston Smith, and Peter Pizzolongo, NAEYC Staff­­
manner, based on currently available data. However, further

                          Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct                                   9                                                  Revised May 2011

                                   ­Statement of Commitment*
               ­ s an individual who works with young children, I commit myself to furthering the
               A
               values of early childhood education as they are reflected in the ideals and prin-
               ciples of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. To the best of my ability I will
               • Never harm children.
               • Ensure that programs for young children are based on current knowledge and
                 research of child development and early childhood education.
               • Respect and support families in their task of nurturing children.
               • Respect colleagues in early childhood care and education and support them in
                 maintaining the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.
               • Serve as an advocate for children, their families, and their teachers in community
                 and society.
               • Stay informed of and maintain high standards of professional conduct.
               • Engage in an ongoing process of self-reflection, realizing that personal characteris-
                 tics, biases, and beliefs have an impact on children and families.
               • Be open to new ideas and be willing to learn from the suggestions of others.
               • Continue to learn, grow, and contribute as a professional.
               • Honor the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.­

               * This Statement of Commitment is not part of the Code but is a personal acknowledgment of
               the individual’s willingness to embrace the distinctive values and moral obligations of the field
               of early childhood care and education. It is recognition of the moral obligations that lead to an
               individual becoming part of the profession.

                         Copyright © 2011 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
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