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Accredited childcare centers do make a difference

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Is your childcare accredited? Many parents do not know what accreditation means for a childcare and the children who attend the center. A lot of parents may not even know if their childcare center is accredited. Some parents may not think it matters. The number of centers that are accredited by one of the organizations, either nationally or state-accredited is actually very low. Statistics show that 10% or less of childcare centers are accredited. Some centers choose not to participate in an accreditation program because the director may feel that it is too stressful or too costly. Centers can become stale after a number of years and going through an accreditation process can be beneficial for teacher/caregiver morale and beneficial for maintaining qualified staff. Participating in an accreditation process can also build teamwork among the staff. Childcare teachers can sometimes feel that they are alone in their classrooms all day with no communication with co-workers. Participating in an accreditation process opens communication lines within the center, and caregivers have the opportunity to share ideas that benefit all of the classrooms.

New criteria for accredited centers have been implemented through the years. These new criteria have benefited centers that choose to participate in an accreditation process have given centers the opportunity to grow and learn about what makes a quality childcare center. New criteria have included health and safety concerns. "Green" centers with changes to their air conditioning and heating centers have met the new accreditation standards. New standards for directors and caregivers have given centers the opportunity to learn new skills to benefit the children in the center. There are eight categories that are part of the accreditation standards for childcare centers.

*relationships between the director and staff

*curriculum that is developmentally appropriate for each classroom

*teaching strategies

*assessment of the progress of the children in the center

*health and safety

*community relationships and partnerships between community businesses and childcare centers

*the physical environment -playgrounds and classroom arrangements

*leadership and management-how the childcare manages its funds

The Goddard Childcare Center in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota is one of several accredited centers in the community. The center is proud of its Gold Seal Quality Care accreditation from the Florida Department of Children and Families. Caregivers and the director have consistently met the standards for this accreditation process, and currently hold accreditation through the year 2017. The Goddard Childcare Center is located at 14534 Arbor Green Trail in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota. Interested parents may call 941-752-6000 to schedule a tour of the childcare center to see what an accredited center can offer your child.

Give your child the benefits of attending an accredited childcare center and compare centers in your area to see differences between centers see the difference that accreditation can make. Check out the included tongue-in-cheek video to hear a variety of opinions about childcare centers and accreditation.

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