Ball State's Child Study Center among first in nation to earn stricter national accreditation

Topic: College of Applied Sciences and Technology

August 6, 2007

Ball State's Child Study Center, operated under the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, was recently accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Ball State's center was among the first 100 programs in the nation to become accredited under new stricter NAEYC guidelines that took effect Sept. 16, 2006. The new guidelines set stronger professional standards for early childhood programs.

"NAEYC's accreditation focuses on the child's experience," said Robin Box, director of the Child Study Center. "The process carefully considers all aspects of a program including health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications and physical environment. The greatest emphasis is on the children's relationships with the staff and how the program helps each child grow and learn intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally."

In addition, Box noted another value to the accreditation. "Being nationally accredited lets our college students and parents know that we are a program maintaining high standards of excellence with developmentally appropriate practices for children, staff and families," she said.

The Child Study Center is a part-time lab school for Ball State students enrolled in infant and toddler development and education, child development and practicum courses. Under the auspices of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the students are provided observation, participatory and educational experiences with children ranging from infants to preschoolers.

NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous, voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate they meet national standards of excellence. To become accredited, programs undergo an intensive self-study and then NAEYC assessors conduct an on-site visit.

These evaluators review programs on 10 levels, and they must score at least 80 percent of each criteria assessed. In addition, each classroom observed is reviewed on six standards and must score at least 70 percent on each criteria evaluated.

The Child Study Center had perfect scores in half of the program areas evaluated:

  • Relationships — promoting positive relationships among all children and adults
  • Teaching — using developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches
  • Health — promoting nutrition and health and protecting children and staff from illness and injury
  • Community relationships — establishing and maintaining reciprocal relationships with agencies and institutions that can support achievement of curriculum goals, health promotions, development and diversity
  • Leadership and management — administering an efficient and effective program to ensure strong attention to the needs and desires of staff, children and families
     

In the remaining five program categories, the center's score ranged from 96 percent for its curriculum to 80 percent of criteria met for assessment of child progress.

In the classroom observation phase, the evaluator ranked each of six classrooms meeting between 95 percent and 97 percent of the criteria.

In the reinvented NAEYC system, programs are accredited for five years, but must submit annual reports to maintain the endorsement. The center was accredited under the previous guidelines in 1998 and again in 2001.

For more information, contact Box at (765) 285-8744 or rbox@bsu.edu. For more about the center, contact (765) 285-1987 or visit www.bsu.edu/fcs/csc

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