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The ABCs of WSU’s NAEYC Accreditation

Preschoolers in Sherrie West’s AS ’78, BS ’83 class at the Melba S. Lehner Children’s School learned about all things earthworms last spring — discovering how earthworms eat, crafting a 22-foot paper worm (modeled after the longest on record) and finding the creepy creatures on the playground.

Hands-on activities, like the worm project, are common in the school’s five classrooms that serve children 2 to 6 years old. “Our curriculum really focuses on each individual child, and we’re teaching to meet the needs and interests of those children,” said Camie Bearden BS ’98, M.Ed ’11, the children’s school director. 

The school’s curriculum also benefits university students, who fill student-teaching roles. 

Recently, the children’s school, along with the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education’s academic programs in early childhood and early childhood education, earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 

Weber State now offers Utah’s only NAEYC-accredited degree programs, including one of a handful of bachelor’s degrees in the country accredited by the organization. NAEYC assesses academic programs on standards such as offering field experience, like the children’s school, building family and community relationships, and offering meaningful curriculum. 

“It’s great for the young children that attend an accredited school and university students who come through an accredited program,” Bearden said.

The 'Art' of Storytelling

Long ago, during the nation’s bicentennial, a local lawyer, who happened to be a Weber State alumnus, had a grand idea. “I will commission 24 of Utah’s finest artists to do 65 historical paintings that will tell the history of Northern Utah like nothing else,” declared the philanthropic William “Bill” Critchlow AS ’50.

Alas, following the bicentennial, the artwork was put into storage, until 2017, when WSU’s Storytelling Festival board members had a wonderful idea. “Let’s restore the paintings for the Storytelling Festival!” they proclaimed. The restoration project continued into 2018. Today, the paintings are living happily ever after displayed in the McKay Education Building.

Power Position

More than 300 student-athletes powered their way to Ogden from across the country to compete in the 2018 University National Weightlifting Championships, but it was Weber State University doing much of the heavy lifting as host of the three-day event. Attracted by WSU’s world-class facilities, USA Weightlifting selected the university to host the championship for the second time since 2015. Weber State’s weightlifting club competed in the championship with a team of four females and two males. Team member Sadie LaMay placed second in two categories: snatch, and clean and jerk. She also scored enough points to give her a second-place total finish. Her results allow her to compete for a spot on the 2019 University World Championship team.


Out to Play

Weber has strengthened ties to the community and the great outdoors.

In the fall of 2017, the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education launched its Bachelor of Science in Outdoor & Community Recreation Education.

Majors focus their studies on administration in either community or outdoor recreation, which preps students for booming industries.


According to the Outdoor Industry Association, Utah’s outdoor recreation economy supports 110,000 jobs and generates $12.3 billion in annual consumer spending.

“Obviously, in the state of Utah, much of our economy is based on outdoor recreation,” said Cass Morgan, program director. “It’s an economic powerhouse. I am optimistic that this new degree program at Weber State, being so close to several recreation agencies, ski resorts and public lands, will be very successful.”


Graduates will go on to careers in the U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, campus recreation, youth development agencies, travel and tourism, outdoor education programs and schools, commercial guiding and instruction, and outdoor retail.


The number of employees that support Utah’s outdoor recreation industry, which covers 54 million acres of public land, five national parks, 43 state parks and 14 ski resorts