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News | Aug. 23, 2007

Katmai CDC first in PACAF to earn accreditation

By Staff Sgt. Olenda Peña Perez 3rd Wing Public Affairs

The Katmai Child Development Center was the first in the Pacific Air Forces to earn accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

"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 Lisa Dalton, director of Katmai Child Development Center. "NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible. Our mission is to ensure that our military moms and dads can do theirs." 

With the help of about 30 staff members, Katmai provides daily care to nearly 200 children, ages 6-weeks through 5-years old. 

To earn NAEYC accreditation, Katmai went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The program received NAEYC accreditation after a two-week on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure that the program met each of the 10 NAEYC program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years. 

NAEYC requires programs to complete a four-step program before they can achieve accreditation. These requirements are designed to increase the accountability of the system for children, families and all customers of NAEYC accreditation. The heart of accreditation focuses on the child's experience. 

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. 

"The new NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs," said Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D., executive director of NAEYC. "Katmai's NAEYC accreditation is a sign that they are a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education, and to help give all children a better start." 

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. 

"To know that we're one of the eight percent of children's programs who have earn their accreditation through the NAEYC is a great achievement and proves to our parents the quality of care their children are receiving while they're at work," said Melanie Ginn-Williams, pre-toddler provider.