FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   Date:  September 6, 2001

                                                                                                            Contact:  Lezli Austen

UIS Child Care Center receives NAEYC accreditation

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield’s Child Care Center was recently granted accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This prestigious recognition has been achieved by only 7 percent of early childhood programs nationwide - some 7,766 programs as of March 1, 2001, serving 696,108 children.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the Child Care Center’s national accreditation,” said Dr. Pat Swatfager-Haney, UIS’ vice chancellor for student affairs. “Our center is the fourth in the city of Springfield to receive accreditation for providing high quality programming for young children and their families,” stated Swatfager-Haney.

NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous, voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence. Childcare centers, preschools, kindergartens, and before- and after-school programs are eligible to seek NAEYC accreditation.   

“The heart of NAEYC accreditation focuses on the child’s experience,” said Racquel Hamm, director of the 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.

According to Hamm, research supports the value of accreditation for children. Children’s language and social skills especially benefit from the better quality found in NAEYC-accredited programs. “These are critical areas for children’s success in school as well as in life,” said Hamm.

NAEYC accreditation began in 1985, with the first program accredited in 1986. NAEYC is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of early childhood professionals dedicated to the improvement of quality early childhood education. NAEYC established accreditation in response to the growing number of American children spending large amounts of time in group settings away from home and the uneven and often inadequate consumer protection afforded by state licensing of child care facilities.

The UIS Child Care Center serves children ranging from 15 months through 12 years of age. The center is open five days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and provides evening care during the academic year from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. along with a summer school-age program, UIS Junior Scholars. The center will now proudly display the NAEYC torch — the sign of NAEYC accreditation. Parents who look for the torch when searching for child care or early education programs for their children will find programs that have made a commitment to excellence for young children and their families.