UNA CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER ACHIEVES ACCREDITATION UNDER NEW NAEYC STANDARDS
Feb. 21, 2008
FLOENCE, Ala. – Long a model for pre-kindergarten programs in Alabama, the University of North Alabama’s Child Development Center, located at the Kilby Laboratory School, recently became one of the first programs in the nation to earn accreditation under the new standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC is the nation’s leading organization of early-childhood professionals.
“We are proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Dr. Mary Maschal, director of Kilby School. “NAEYC accreditation lets families and our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.
“Amy Davison and the pre-K teachers have committed themselves to excellence in early-childhood education and feel fortunate to have been a part of this opportunity.”
To earn NAEYC accreditation in the new system, the Child Development Center went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 new NAEYC early-childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The program received NAEYC accreditation after an onsite visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure the program meets each of the 10 program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visit during their accreditation, which lasts five years.
“The new NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for preschool, childcare centers and other early-childhood programs,” said Dr. Mark Ginsberg, executive director of NAEYC. “Kilby’s NAEYC accreditation is a sign that they are a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early-childhood education and to help give all children a better start.”
UNA’s Child Development Center earned exemplary ratings in all categories, averaging over 99 percent on the total.
In preparation for its NAEYC accreditation, UNA provided a generous donation to construct a new playground at Kilby. “Our school is fortunate in that our outdoor play area is an extension of the classroom,” said Rita Liles, head pre-kindergarten teacher.
“Leading research strongly suggests that natural environment has a profound effect on development of the young mind by reducing stress and enhancing learning in all aspects of the curriculum.”
With this knowledge, Liles and the 2006-07 pre-kindergarten class designed an outdoor classroom highlighting trees, grasses and flowers native to the southeast. The new area encourages creativity, exploration and active play – three major factors in promoting optimal development.
Liles and her assistant, Melanie Kennedy, will present their research and experiences next month at the National Coalition of Campus Children’s Centers Conference in Washington, D.C., and again in April at the Alabama State Pre-Kindergarten Conference.
The Kilby Child Development Center will take applications for the 2008-09 pre-kindergarten class March 3-20. Registration is open to children who will be 4 years old by Sept. 1. Applications are currently being accepted for the part-time preschool class. For more information, visit: www2.una.edu/cdc or call 256-765-4244.