MTSU’s Child Development Center, which is housed within the Department of Human Sciences, recently achieved accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.
Based in Washington, D.C., the NAEYC’s accreditation is a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education and represents the campus-based school’s commitment to the development and care of young children.
To earn NAEYC accreditation, the CDC’s staff completed an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program standards and related accreditation criteria. The center received NAEYC accreditation in June after an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the 10 NAEYC program standards, such as teaching, leadership and management.
"Many MTSU students from a variety of departments complete practicum and field experiences at the CDC,” observed Dr. Lana Seivers, dean of MTSU’s College of Education. “NAEYC accreditation further assures that these students are observing a program that meets specific standards and is developmentally appropriate for young children. This is especially important in our efforts to prepare future teachers of early childhood education. The entire staff of CDC has done an excellent job in preparation for the site visit and in program delivery throughout the year."
In a June 9 letter to Elaine Palmore, center director, NAEYC officials wrote, “The administration, teaching staff and families of (the) MTSU Child Development Center are all to be congratulated for earning the mark of quality represented by the NAEYC accreditation system.”
Located in MTSU’s Fairview Building, the CDC exists to serve children and their families, to educate MTSU students and as a lab for faculty teaching and research. Its programs—an infant-toddler program for ages 12-36 months and a preschool program serving ages 3-5—are based on the philosophy that children develop best when adults and caregivers emphasize the total development of the child.
As a training center for students in early childhood education and related disciplines, the center provides practical experiences in child growth and development, as well as in planning, implementing and evaluating activities and curricula.
“We are very proud of our recent accreditation and yes, we worked many extra hours to complete the necessary paperwork,” shared Palmore, who led the CDC’s accreditation effort. The program portfolios, compiled by me, seemed endless and impossible at times. There were weekends, holidays and evening sessions to prepare the 10 notebooks, which verified our compliance.
“Many people on campus supported us with letters about our cleaning regime, pest control, heating and A/C airflow, building construction, air quality, et cetera,” she continued. “Our two master-classroom teachers, Marzee Woodward and Jackie Hamilton, also contributed at great personal expense. We all made sacrifices for a common goal, which was accreditation and we succeeded.”
In the NAEYC’s accreditation decision report, the MTSU center was commended for its performance in seven of the 10 areas evaluated including knowledgeable and supportive teachers, overall leadership and management, meeting the needs of the program’s children and their families, ongoing assessment of children’s learning and more.
First opened in 1955, the center’s newly acquired accreditation will be valid through July 1, 2015, provided the program’s quality is maintained and ongoing NAEYC compliance is upheld. Moreover, the CDC will be subject to unannounced visits during its multi-year accreditation period.
For more information about the CDC, including registration information for the fall and spring semesters, please visit www.mtsu.edu/humansciences/childdev_humansciences.shtml.
More about the NAEYC
Founded in 1926, the NAEYC accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. The association's program standards and criteria have introduced a new level of quality, accountability and service for parents and children in child-care programs.
According to information from the NAEYC, its rigorous standards reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development to ensure young children continue receiving the highest-quality care and education possible.
Criteria for high quality include all aspects of an early childhood program: interactions among staff and students, curriculum, staff and parent interactions, administration, staff qualifications and development, staffing patterns, physical environment, health and safety, nutrition and food service, and program evaluation.