Friday, January 16, 2009JOHNSON CITY—The East Tennessee State University Child Study Center recently attained re-accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the Little Buccaneers Student Child Care Center is currently undergoing the NAEYC re-accreditation procedure. In addition, both centers have again been awarded a 3-Star rating from the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
NAEYC uses 10 early childhood program standards for evaluation: relationships, curriculum, teaching, health, assessment of children’s progress, teaching staff, families, community relationships, physical environment, and leadership and management. The process involves completing a self-study, conducting a program self-assessment, being accepted as a candidate for accreditation, providing sources of evidence that address the standards and criteria, undergoing an on-site visit by an accreditation assessor, and ending with the decision of the NAEYC Academy.
NAEYC accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education, with member programs volunteering to be measured against “the most robust and rigorous national standards on education, health, and safety.” According to NAEYC, experiences from birth to age 8 “have an enormous impact on children’s lifelong learning and positively contribute to their health and development,” and quality childhood programs benefit children “with greater readiness for and success in school.”
After gaining initial NAEYC accreditation in 1989, the Child Study Center has successfully retained that distinction for nearly 20 years. Little Buccaneers became accredited in 1999.
Additionally, the two facilities achieved the state’s top 3-Star designation when the rating system was implemented in 2001 and have maintained that status every year since.
Both programs are part of the ETSU Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and Development. The Child Study Center offers full-time, full-year child care services to 121 children of the university’s faculty, staff and students, as well as the community. Each semester, Little Bucs makes available part-time child care services to approximately 100 children of ETSU students who are attending classes or working on campus.
The ETSU facilities provide quality child care while acting as a laboratory and clinical training site for university students fulfilling class requirements, observations, and research. The centers benefit from the participation each semester of some 300 ETSU students studying early childhood education, special education, communicative disorders, motor development, speech and language, dental hygiene, nursing, photography, physical therapy, and pediatrics. In addition to ETSU, students from institutions such as Milligan College, Walters State Community College, Northeast State Technical Community College, and Mountain Empire Community College (Big Stone Gap, Va.) also contribute their time while completing class requirements.
The Star-Quality Child Care Program is part of Tennessee’s comprehensive plan to provide more information to parents and to improve child care across the state. The system is voluntary and offers recognition for high-performance centers.