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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Program among first in nation to complete more rigorous accreditation process

Columbia, SC -- Benedict College Child Development Center has the unique distinction of being one of the first early childhood programs to earn accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.

"We're proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards," said Eartha Heyward, Interim Director. "NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible." The center received its first national accreditation in 1995, repeating this achievement in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008. The accreditation period was increased from three years to five years in 2008. Benedict's program is one of only approximately 129 child development centers statewide to hold such a noteworthy honor.

To earn NAEYC accreditation under the new system, the center engaged in an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. "This was a very rigorous process. We would not have been successful without the team effort put forth by everyone involved, especially the center's teaching staff. Classroom observation a key component of the site visit assesses the classroom management and teaching skills of teachers, they performed beautifully," beamed Jacqueline Echols, Assistant Vice President of Community Development. The accreditation process includes an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the ten program standards. Programs are also subject to unannounced visits during the five year accreditation period.

In the 20 years since NAEYC accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high quality early childhood education. Nationwide only 8 percent of all preschools and early childhood programs are accredited by NAEYC. "The new NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs," said Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D., executive director of NAEYC. "Benedict College Child Development Center's NAEYC accreditation is a sign that they are a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education."

The NAEYC accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. As of September 2006, the association's revised program standards and criteria have introduced a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children in child care programs. The new standards reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development. NAEYC is committed to utilizing the newest studies and analysis on positive child outcomes to ensure young children continue receiving the highest-quality care and education possible.

Contacts: Kymm Hunter, Communications and Marketing Director; 803.705.4519 hunterk@benedict.edu
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366 wigfallc@benedict.edu