paul meissner

Cal Poly’s ASI Children’s Programs received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The accreditation is a voluntary system to recognize the quality of childcare centers nationwide.

“The implications are that we have matched the highest quality standards that exist for our field,” said Tonya Iverson, director of ASI Children’s Programs. “It means that we’re creating the best quality program that we know how to.”

Cal Poly’s Children’s Center provides services to about 130 children, from four months to six years old.

Accreditation is awarded based on a set of criteria, including interactions among teachers and children, curriculum, physical environment, health and safety, relationships among teachers and families, staff qualifications and development, administrative practices and nutrition and food service, Iverson said.

“You look at their criteria and estimate how well you match what they’re looking for,” Iverson said.

From there, the center did a “self-study” and sent a report to NAEYC. The organization sent a representative to inspect the center and that person wrote another report that was sent to a group of experts to be evaluated.

“The parents, the center and the NAEYC have to agree (that the center meets the criteria),” Iverson said.

Meeting the comprehensive criteria was a demanding job for the workers, but Iverson said they had been striving toward it for years.

“Our center decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to become world famous,” she said.

Not world famous in the Hollywood sense, she said, but the feeling that the interactions with the children and the parents create a world famous impression.

“If you think of yourself as world famous, it changes your interactions,” Iverson said. “(Workers) come to the center to give their very best every day and we hold ourselves accountable for that.”

Laura Callahan, a parent who has been sending her son to the Children’s Center for years, said it is exemplary in many ways and she is not surprised that it has received the honor of accreditation.

“The Children’s Center here has a unique approach to discipline and child care – more so than any other center that I’ve ever heard of,” she said. “They’re more child development oriented.”

Callahan also commented that the center has great programs for parents as well as children.

“I really appreciate that they offer a lot of parent education and parents are always welcome in the classroom,” she said.

The NAEYC Web site notes that there are 10,000 NAEYC-accredited programs in the country. The program began in 1985 to help improve the quality of children’s programs for families and professionals.

When centers are accredited, the workers vow to work to “strengthen the program and commit to ongoing evaluation and improvement.”

The accreditation will last for five years.

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