Program among the top in the nation by earning accreditation
Broadreach Family & Community Services’ Early Childhood Education Programs located in Belfast and Unity have earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.
“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Jayne Crosby Giles, Broadreach Interim Executive Director. “NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our high-quality program have teachers who create engaging classrooms, enhance relationships with their parents and families, and develop rich experiences for their students.”
During this accreditation process Broadreach has been working to add the SPROUTS Program to its preschool services. According to Deb Hensley, Director of Early Childhood Services, “Broadreach PreK and SPROUTS early childhood programs are collaborative programs with the High Scope curriculum (a nationally recognized early childhood curriculum) intertwined with rich opportunities for all children to experience nature both inside and outside of the classroom. SPROUTS programs are full day, full year programs where children will spend the majority of their time in outdoor learning spaces. The children will have repeated and regular access to the same natural space.
“Children’s learning is guided by state certified teachers who have been trained in providing a place-based nature education which is designed to meet all children’s developmental and academic needs. The teachers will provide an authentic, meaningful nature experiences infused with literacy, numeracy, science and social skills.”
“There are many benefits to nature education programs. Children in these programs often experience reduced behaviors, healthier appetites, less illness and better sleep habits. Children who make a positive connection with nature at an early age often carry this connection with them throughout their lives.”
“SPROUTS will also provide children and families with opportunities to connect with and explore their communities through forays to local sites, such as; swimming at the Y, visit to farms, farmers markets and parks. The SPROUTS programs will also invite people from the community to visit our site and share their knowledge with our children.”
To earn NAEYC Accreditation, Broadreach went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. The program received NAEYC Accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC Assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the ten program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.
In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. Nearly 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC – approximately 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.
“It’s a lengthy and rigorous process to achieve NAEYC Accreditation, and Broadreach Family & Community Services should be commended for seeking high standards,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of NAEYC. “Caring for children is not ‘rocket science’ – it’s brain science. Studies prove that the brain connections made in the first few years of life set a child’s path for success in school and in life. That’s why quality educators are so crucial. For parents and caregivers of young children who are searching for a high-quality early learning experience, Broadreach’s NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that it offers a high-quality education in a nurturing and stimulating environment.”
The NAEYC Accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. 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. NAEYC is committed to using the newest studies and analysis on positive child outcomes to ensure young children continue receiving the highest-quality care and education possible.
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. 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. For more information about Broadreach or the SPROUTS program, contact (207) 338-2200 or visit broadreachmaine.org.