URI Child Development Center earns national accreditation

Program among first in nation to complete more rigorous accreditation process

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 4, 2007 – The University of Rhode Island Child Development Center in Kingston is one of the first early childhood programs to earn accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from the association and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Director Sue Warford. “This accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.”

The Child Development Center is part of the Human Development and Families Studies Department in URI’s College of Human Science and Services.

To earn the association’s accreditation in the new system, the Child Development Center went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the association’s 10 new Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The program received accreditation after an on-site visit by association assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the 10 program standards. Programs accredited by the national association are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.

In the 20 years since the association’s national accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 11,000 programs, serving 1 million young children, are currently accredited by the association– approximately 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs. “The new NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Mark Ginsberg, executive director of NAEYC. “University of Rhode Island Child Development Center’s NAEYC accreditation is a sign that it is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education, and to help give all children a better start.”

The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s 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.