Columbia College€™s Child Care Center was recently granted accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). As such, the center is the only one in Tuolumne County to have this distinction.
Since February 1 of this year, the accreditation has been achieved by approximately 7 percent of all early childhood centers nationally, or 8,176 programs. There are 577 NAEYC-accredited centers in California. Approximately 19,000 programs are currently seeking accreditation.
NAEYC accreditation is a voluntary process in which programs demonstrate that they can meet rigorous national standards of excellence. Childcare centers, preschools, kindergartens, and before-and-after school programs are eligible to apply.
In addition to an intensive self-study and classroom observations, requirements include collecting information from parents, teachers and administrators. This is followed by an on-site visit conducted by NAEYC-trained professionals to validate the self-study results. The information is then reviewed by a team of national experts, who either grant or defer accreditation. When awarded, accreditation is valid for three years.
“We are very pleased to receive this national accreditation,” said Adrienne Webster, the college€™s child development center manager. “It´s not easy to get, and it certainly speaks well about the quality of our program.”
Columbia College€™s Child Care Center consists of two separate buildings on the campus. The toddler program (ages from 18 to 36 months) is in one, and preschoolers (3-5 year olds) in the other. There are 30 children in each program.
Children in the program are from families, who have met eligibility requirements to receive subsidized care. Under the supervision of master teachers, the center€™s student teacher aides are enrolled in Columbia College and working toward associate in science degrees or certificates in child development. The classrooms serve as labs for their training and experience.
The college€™s preschool program was founded in 1991 and conducted solely as such until 1998 when the toddler component was added. “The program fills the needs of both the community and our campus,” said Webster. “The community needs quality child care and our students need the opportunity for hands-on training.”