By Kimberly K. FritzAugust 25, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. (August 25, 2011) -- The 25 staff members of the Battle Drive Child Development Center "were in it to win it" as they strived for National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation recently.
The "mark of quality" for child-care professional standards took more than 18 months to earn but Battle CDC was awarded five years of accreditation on Aug. 11.
"For a long time the center has worked diligently to achieve this goal," she said. "Our staff has worked relentlessly to meet high standards, and we've done it. I am so proud of every one of the staff members here."
To earn NAEYC accreditation, the facility went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the center's program and its services against 10 childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The standards are relationships, curriculum, teaching, assessment, heath, teachers, families, community relationships, physical environment, and leadership and management. The center did this for each of its classrooms, including the hourly care room, which proved to be more difficult for some of the standards since it measures the children's growth, and children in drop-in care aren't seen as regularly as children enrolled in a program, Rose said.
"We've worked really hard on this," she said. "We came in on Saturdays, and the staff took these books (the standards documentation required for each classroom) home. We've worked off the clock to achieve this."
The center received accreditation after an on-site visit by an NAEYC assessor to ensure that the program meets each of the standards as submitted documentation suggested.
Rose said areas that normally are difficult to score high percentages in - the hourly-care room, the toddlers and the preschool rooms - earned marks that were higher than expected.
"We had many really high scores," Rose said. "We did score lower than expected in the health and teachers standards but still received good scores."
Rose said the health assessment scored 88 percent because NAEYC requires shoe-booties for anyone walking into an infant room since infants spend a majority of their time playing on the floor and shoes carry in all kinds of unwanted dirt and germs. At this time, the DoD doesn't supply the funding for shoe-booties for infant rooms at CDCs.
Battle CDC scored 100 percent in three of the 10 core standard - relationship, teaching, assessment - and more than 100 percent in three of the categories - families, community relationships, and leadership and management.
The NAEYC accreditation system was established in 1985 to set professional standards for early childhood education and to help families identify high-quality preschools, child care centers and other early education programs. Approximately 8 percent of all preschools or other early childhood programs nationwide are currently accredited.
"The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care programs," Rose said. "Earning accreditation is a sign that the Battle CDC is a leader in a national effort to invest in high quality early childhood education."
Now that the center is accredited, the work continues to maintain and exceed the expectations to keep accreditation. Rose will have to file an annual report on the first, second, third and fourth anniversary of the accreditation date and report any major programmatic changes. After five years, the center will be required to renew its accreditation.
Currently, Yorktown CDC is in the process of renewing its accreditation; the newest centers on the CYSS Campus - Sisisky CDC and the Multi-Purpose Center - must be open for one year before they apply for accreditation and begin the 18-month documentation process.
Battle CDC provides age-appropriate developmental care and pre-school programs for children aged six weeks through five years of active duty service members, activated reservists, DoD Civilians, and full-time contractors assigned to Fort Lee.