NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Field-Specific Professional Organizations in Education

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 NAEYC Code
  • 0:48 Core Values
  • 2:22 Areas of Ethics
  • 5:03 Statement of Commitment
  • 5:45 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) sets forth standards of ethics for its members to follow. In this lesson, we'll examine their code of ethical conduct, including the core values, major areas of ethics, and the statement of commitment.


Lorenzo just got a job as a preschool teacher. He's very excited to start his career, and he's heard that he can become even better as an educator if he joins the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which is an association that is dedicated to making sure that young children across the country get a good education. By joining, Lorenzo will be making a commitment to that same ideal. But it's not just about that general ideal; NAEYC also has a code of ethical conduct, which outlines the association's position on the ethics of teaching young children. To help Lorenzo understand NAEYC's code of ethics, let's take a closer look at the core values, areas of ethics, and the statement of commitment.

Core Values

Because people who work with infants, toddlers, and children under the age of eight might face moral or ethical dilemmas, the National Association for the Education of Young Children created their code of ethical conduct. To start with, they outlined several core values on which the code is based, including: appreciation, respect, and the recognition of social and cultural context.

Teachers should appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle, the bond between child and family, and how children develop and learn. Lorenzo shouldn't see children as less than adults. That being said, however, he needs to consider that children develop and learn in specific ways. Therefore, he shouldn't try to teach his preschoolers the same way that his college professors taught him. Lorenzo will want to recognize the importance of a child's family members and work to help support them.

Teachers should respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual, as well as diversity in and of itself. Lorenzo will want to respect the students in his class as well as his colleagues and the family members of his students. He should acknowledge that they don't all come from the same background as he does, and he'll want to support them as they are.

Teachers should recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society, and that potential is achieved only with trust and respect. Lorenzo will want to create a safe space in his classroom for his students, their families, and his colleagues to feel supported, trusted, and respected.

Areas of Ethics

Those core values seem pretty straightforward, but they're just the foundation upon which the code of ethical conduct is based. The code itself is divided into four general areas of ethics, with guidelines for decision-making.

The first concerns ethical responsibilities to children. The ideals behind this area including continuing education to help extend knowledge, basing programs on research into child development and education, creating a safe and healthy environment for children, using appropriate assessments to guide instruction, and advocating for all children. The main principle for this area is that above all, teachers shall not harm children. Other principles include non-discriminatory practices, building relationships with each individual child, and recognizing and reporting abuse.

The second general area concerns ethical responsibilities to families. The ideals behind this area include developing relationships with and welcoming family members, respecting families' preferences and beliefs, sharing information with and helping family members understand their child's education, and fostering family support networks. The principles include not denying family members access to the classroom or programs, making sure families are able to have a say in decisions about their child, informing the family of any risks or injuries to the child, and referring families to community resources.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account