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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI’s Child Development Center wins national accreditation

Media Contact: Elizabeth Rau, 401-874-2116

KINGSTON, R.I., Sept. 20, 2012 – Thanks to exceptional teachers, parental involvement and innovative programs, URI’s early childhood center has won accreditation from a national advocacy group for outstanding care of youngsters.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children has singled out only a handful of preschools in the country for their work, says Sue Warford, director of the Child Development Center.

“It's an honor to be recognized by such a highly regarded organization,’’ says Warford. “The accreditation lets families know we are always working on improvements so that children are getting the best possible care and education.’’

The center went through a rigorous process with more than 400 criteria, including teacher qualifications, family participation, and curriculum. The association also visited the center this summer as part of the evaluation.

“The association’s accreditation system raises the bar for early childhood programs,’’ says Jerlean E. Daniel, the association’s director. “Earning this accreditation is a sign that URI’s Child Development Center is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.’’

The center, which opened in 1958 and expanded in 1980, has 30 children - 12 in kindergarten and 18 in preschool. Half are children of parents affiliated with the University. The others are from the community.

The center is also a lab school for URI students obtaining degrees in human development or early childhood education. About 100 undergraduate students have practicums at the center every year.

“It’s a win for the students and the children,’’ says Warford. “The students get hands-on experience and the children benefit from receiving a lot of close attention.’’

The association, a group of early childhood educators, sets professional standards for early childhood education and helps families identify superior preschools and child care centers. The URI accreditation lasts five years.

For more information, go to www.naeyc.org/academy.