CLEVELAND, Miss.— Accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a recognition that less than 10 percent of early education programs in the nation accomplish, and Delta State University’s Hamilton-White Child Development Center (HWCDC) is once again one of them.
The HWCDC at Delta State recently achieved a new five-year term from NAEYC, the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. 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.
Currently, there are only 12 NAEYC accredited programs in the state of Mississippi.
“The HWCDC teachers, with leadership from Director Kelsey Overstreet and Dr. Merideth Van Namen, interim chair of the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, are to be commended for the reaccreditation of the Center,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of DSU’s College of Education. “Together, they form an amazing team that views challenges as opportunities. I applaud this latest expression of their dedication to maintaining quality programs and operations for the Center.”
Namen said that NAEYC accreditation is the gold standard for child care centers across the nation.
“Receiving this reaccreditation speaks to the level of commitment and professionalism of the center director, Mrs. Kelsey Overstreet, and the Center’s teachers as they were the driving force behind the improvements and enhancements. Having the NAEYC stamp of approval further signifies to the community our commitment to providing the best care possible for the children,” she said.
Achieving NAEYC accreditation is a four-step process that involves self-reflection and quality improvement in order to meet and maintain accreditation over a five-year period.
According to Overstreet, HWCDC staff dedicated many hours over the past year to earn the honor of being renewed as an NAEYC-accredited early childhood program.
“It is a great feeling to know that our hard work has paid off and to know that what we are doing each day meets the standard of a high-quality program,” said Overstreet. “We had a strong team of teachers, administrators and families while going through this process, and we all stayed focused on the goal of improving our child care program.”
The renewal process included facility upgrades as well as enhancements to the Center’s lesson plans and its instructional and play materials.
HWCDC teachers also prepared by participating in five hours of virtual trainings on the new, updated NAEYC standards and completed an extensive portfolio for their classrooms that documented evidence showing how they incorporate each standard into their classrooms.
In addition, the process included a site visit comprised of a tour of the facility and program observation.
The NAEYC accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. To earn NAEYC Accreditation, a program must meet each of the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards. Programs are accredited by NAEYC for a five-year period.
For more information about NAEYC accreditation, visit www.naeyc.org/academy.
To learn more about Delta State’s Hamilton-White Child Development Center, visit www.deltastate.edu/education-and-human-sciences/hamilton-white-child-development-center