The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Cody Child Development Center has applied for the National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation.

"Accreditation requires a lot of hard work, but in the long run, our center, our children and our Families will appreciate the ongoing benefits," said Julia Apicella, CDC training and curriculum specialist. "In order to give our teachers goals for accreditation, and have them set up the environments appropriately, we created an incentive chart for them to follow some steps toward accreditation and keep them motivated," said Apicella.

The CDC created incentive charts that break down the NAEYC requirements into eight steps for classrooms to complete. The last one requires the classroom to be welcoming and accessible as well as incorporating foreign language signage and multi-cultural materials. When modules reach this step they receive a "ready for accreditation," plaque. Teachers also get to put their remaining achievement stickers on a poster on the wall. The poster has a column for each module, and a row for each step.

On Feb. 14, JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman, Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, Deputy Joint Base Commander Lt. Col. Jennifer Blair, Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Bill Horvath, Child and Youth Services Director Dr. Monique Murdock, along with the trainers, awarded the plaques to the first three classrooms to complete all eight steps.

Modules 108 classrooms A-B also known as the Crickets, 109 A-B the Dragonflies and 203 A-B the Robins were the first three modules to complete all eight steps. These three modules were the first to complete step eight; however, all modules will receive the plaque upon completion of the eight steps. According to the NAEYC website, www., there are four requirements schools must meet to be accredited: enrollment and self study, application and self-assessment, candidacy, and finally, meeting and maintaining the standards. For the past year, all 150 staff members of the CDC have worked together to form classroom portfolios, binders and bring the classrooms up to the standards of NAEYC, said Apicella.

"Morale is higher than it ever has been," said Apicella. Adding that working toward the same goal, staff has been really motivated to ensure the CDC gets accredited. Now that the final paperwork has been submitted, the CDC will be notified within the next six months about a 15-day window where a NAEYC representative will come to evaluate the CDC. Within three months after the visit, the CDC will be informed whether or not they are accredited, said Apicella. Not every classroom will be checked. A computer will choose the classrooms to be reviewed randomly. Each year NAEYC will return to ensure the standards are being maintained, and the CDC will be required to get re-accredited every five years.

"I would say 99 percent of accreditation is interaction between teacher and child," said Apicella. "How the structure is set up, how they are keeping an eye on all the children and in line of sight all the time."

"Bring it on NAEYC," exclaimed Murdock after the tour.