Become an accredited charlotte Mason school

school Accreditation

about accreditation

what is accreditation?

A school is a community dedicated to students, families, and their educational needs. Accreditation allows schools to clarify their values, vision, and mission so that they can serve their community “for the children’s sake.” The Charlotte Mason Institute accreditation process requires schools to meet rigorous and comprehensive standards. Accreditation affirms that the school provides a quality educational experience for learners and demonstrates to all stakeholders that the services, activities, and educational programs the school provides meet the expectations of the educational community worldwide.

Why Accreditation?


Charlotte Mason Institute accredited schools and the accreditation process offer numerous benefits to their faculty, families, and students.

  • Enables the school to analyze itself, understand Mason's practices, reflect on their mission, vision, and values, and create a successful plan for continuous growth.
  • Affirms to the larger educational community that the school meets CMI Standards, guidelines for ongoing professional development, and provides a safe and well-governed place for faculty, staff, and children.
  • Gives assurance that the school seeks to understand their child as a person (spiritually, emotionally, morally, and intellectually) and shares their values.
  • Demonstrates to families that the school values the child relationally and seeks community with children.
  • Invites families to observe and support a curriculum and instructional method that is designed for "persons" rather than one which expects the learner to adapt to the curriculum.
For the Student
  • Provides students a safe environment, a suitable curriculum, and trained teachers who care for them.
  • Prepares children to be active, self-governed persons, who are prepared to live, work, and play in the 21st century.
  • Guides children to care for creation and others in their communities.

Accreditation Timeline


From Interest to Accreditation

  • Initial Interest
  • Candidacy Application
  • Mentor Visit
  • Acceptance for the accreditation process
  • Begin Self-Study
  • Evaluation Team Visit
  • CESS Decision
  • Accreditation Awarded!

next steps

Accreditation process

Complete the following steps to see if your school is ready to apply for accreditation with the Charlotte Mason Institute.

Accreditation is not a static process, and it is not simply an accountability system. Accreditation is a process by which a school continues to improve, documents that improvement, and holds itself accountable.

Accreditation Handbook

Charlotte Mason Institute

more information


Engaging Participants

In addition to the suggested questions in the guides, beta club leaders have started using "prediction" questions to encourage participants to think about past and future seasons:

  • What do you think this landscape will look like in the winter?
  • (On your second visit) Does this look like what you thought the landscape would look like when you made your prediction last season?

You might also want to use index cards to write down a few questions before you go to use as you begin your walk.

First Visit Tips

The first visit takes longer - give yourself and your participants grace as you both figure out how to use the guides and plan your walk for the first time. Even the intro lesson to each location is longer the first time. As you continue to visit the same locations, you'll build knowledge and context - and you and your group will be familiar with the process.

Does everyone in my group need to register?

No! We want to make these resources as accessible as possible, so only the club leader needs to register for the group. Club leaders can then share resources and cost with other group members or just enjoy the resources as a family. We do ask that you refrain from sharing private resources with friends not part of your club. Encourage them to register their own family or community!

Can you give me a sample schedule for the year?

Groups can use the guides in any order and use each guide in a rhythm that works best with their climate and personal schedules, but here is one way to organize your year of walks.  

  • September: Forest Guide (Autumn Visit)
  • October: Grasslands Guide (Autumn Visit)
  • November: Wetlands Guide (Autumn Visit)
  • December: Forest (Winter)
  • January: Grasslands (Winter)
  • February: Wetlands (Winter)
  • March: Forest (Spring)
  • April: Grasslands (Spring)
  • May: Wetlands (Spring)
  • June: Forest (Summer)
  • July: Grasslands (Summer)
  • August: Wetlands (Summer)
Who Should Join a Natural History Club?

Anyone! These guides are suitable for your family, school group, church, neighborhood, colleagues, or just a few friends who want to get outside more! We see these guides as a great way to invite others to join you outside in nature and learn to love the outdoors and observe the world more deeply.

How do CMI Natural History Clubs relate to Alveary?

CMI Natural History Clubs are distinct from Alveary and are open to anyone, young or old, interested in learning to love and observe nature more closely. However, Alveary members will find that these guides dovetail with Alveary science lessons and give them an easy and natural way to invite friends and family into Nature Study with them.

Do these guides work for my location?

These guides are written to for use across North America and so are purposefully broad and aimed at ecological themes rather than a lot of specifics. This year, the guides focus on encouraging participants to observe relationships within a landscape. What vegetation do you see? Do you start to notice that certain plants appear together, or in certain locations? What animals do you see? How are animals interacting with the vegetation? Do you see the same animals around the same type of vegetation? Ecologists refer to specific types of landscapes as ecological communities. A certain type of geology and elevation will result in a specific type of vegetation, and specific animal species adapted to that environment and vegetation. While this guide does not use textbook language, the goal is for participants to begin understanding landscapes as a community.


Accreditation Handbook

Everything you need to know about Charlotte Mason Institute Accreditation and your next steps.

download handbook