Colorado Springs, Colorado – Dec. 7, 2011 - Pikes Peak Community College Child Development Centers (PPCC CDCs) recently earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. The PPCC CDCs are now part of eight percent of preschools and early childhood programs in the nation with this accreditation.
“The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers,” said Jerlean E. Daniel, executive director, NAEYC. “Having earned NAEYC accreditation is a sign the PPCC CDCs are leaders in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.”
Earning NAEYC accreditation is an extensive process lasting three years. The PPCC CDCs conducted self-study processes, measuring the program and its services against the 10 NAEYC early childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The 10 standards the CDC was measured against were: relationships, curriculum, teaching, assessment of child progress, health, teachers, families, community relationships, physical environment, leadership and management. NAEYC assessors also conducted an on-site visit ensuring the PPCC CDCs met each of the standards. The PPCC CDCs are now subject to unannounced visits during accreditation, which lasts five years.
The first NAEYC accredited program in El Paso County, the PPCC CDCs achieved high scores in the accreditation validation visit. Programs must achieve a minimum of 80 percent in each standard; however, the CDCs scored 100 percent in eight of the program standards. The classrooms observed by the validator must score a minimum of 70 percent on the observable criteria and the observed CDC classrooms rated 92 percent and higher.
“Our mission is supporting students as they achieve their educational goals through providing high quality, affordable care and education to infants, toddlers and preschoolers,” said Cynthia Neale-Downing, director, child care services, PPCC. “NAEYC accreditation is a testament to our mission and also shows that children in our program are receiving the highest quality care and early learning experiences.”
Each year the PPCC CDCs serve more than 300 children with a combined staff of more than 50 positions, some of which are PPCC students receiving practical experience toward their degrees.
The CDCs were established in 1970 and through student-voted fees opened the current locations at the Centennial Campus and Rampart Range Campus with sliding scales to serve low-income students. In addition to providing childcare, the CDCs also serve as observation and practicum sites for PPCC academic programs such as early childhood education, nursing and psychology.
Established in 1985, the NAEYC accreditation system was created to set professional standards for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality preschools, child care centers and other early education programs. In September 2006, the Association revised program standards and criteria to introduce a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children in child care programs. The new standards today reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development.
Pikes Peak Community College, in its 43rd year of operation, is a two-year college offering associate’s degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With four campuses, three military education centers in El Paso County and more than 200 programs of study, PPCC serves approximately 22,000 students annually.
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