OGDEN, Utah – The Melba S. Lehner Children’s School at Weber State University was recently granted accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This prestigious recognition has been achieved by less than seven percent of early childhood programs nationwide -- some 8,006 programs as of January 1, 2003.
“We are very proud to have been the first children’s school with an extended daycare program in the state of Utah to be accredited by the NAEYC,” said Carole J. Haun, director of the Children’s School. “The school has been continuously accredited by the NAEYC since 1988.”
NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous, voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence.
Child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens are eligible to seek NAEYC accreditation. Programs seeking accreditation undergo an intensive self-study, collecting information from parents, teachers, administrators, and classroom observations. They receive an on-site visit, conducted by early childhood professionals trained by NAEYC, to validate their self-study results. All of this information is independently reviewed by a team of national experts who grant or defer accreditation. When awarded, accreditation is valid for three years.
“The process carefully considers all aspects of a program including health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications, and physical environment. The greatest emphasis is on the children’s relationships with the staff and how the program helps each child grow and learn intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally,” said Barbara Willer, spokesperson for NAEYC.
According to Willer, research supports the value of accreditation for children. Children’s language and social skills especially benefit from the better quality found in NAEYC-accredited programs, Willer said. “These are critical areas for children’s success in school as well as in life,” she added.
Established in 1985, NAEYC is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of early childhood professionals dedicated to improvement of quality early childhood education.
The Children’s School at WSU serves 120 children ranging in age from 16 months to 5 years. It provides childcare for university students, faculty and staff and offers a preschool that is open to everyone. The Children’s School will proudly display the NAEYC torch -- the sign of NAEYC accreditation, which symbolizes programs with a commitment to excellence for young children and families.
For further information about NAEYC or the accreditation process, visit NAEYC’s web site at www.naeyc.org/ or contact NAEYC’s Public Affairs Division at 800-424-2460.
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