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CDC 1 earns national accreditation

By Margo Turner | Capital Flyer staff writer | August 22, 2006

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- Child Development Center 1 here has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Youth Children in Washington, D.C.
The NAEYC accreditation certificate states CDC 1 has ''demonstrated substantial compliance with nationally recognized criteria for high-quality early childhood programs." The accreditation expires in 2011.

Center 1 is proud to be accredited by the NAEYC, said Olympia A. Williams, the center's director. ''It's another way of saying we're doing a good job."

CDC 1 is responsible for 149 children from 6 weeks to five years old and has 57 part- and full-time employees, said Ms. Williams. The center is open 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

Ms. Williams said Emily K. Chapman, CDC 1 assistant director, and Diane C. Webber, CDC 1 training and curriculum specialist, work as a team at the facility. In seeking the NAEYC's accreditation, the team conducted a study in March 2005 to determine how well the center met the early childhood program standards the NAEYC governing board approved the month before.

The study concluded the need for improvement in the center's art activities and in the children's language skills, said Ms. Webber.

''We made the art activities more complex for our older children," she said. ''We (also) added more language and literacy activities."

The team also surveyed parents and staff about the center's early childhood program, said Ms. Williams. The surveys were included in the center's application, which was submitted to the NAEYC in October.

Two professional validators from the NAEYC observed seven classrooms at CDC 1. A national panel, also from the NAEYC, reviewed the early childhood program.

Ms. Williams said this is the first NAEYC accreditation CDC 1 has received since she became the center's director in January 2005.

The center was awarded its first NAEYC accreditation in 1995, when Ms. Chapman was the training and curriculum specialist there. The NAEYC reaccredited the center in 1998, said Ms. Chapman. At that time, childcare centers were accredited for three years.

The center was scheduled to apply for the NAEYC accreditation in 2001, said Mrs. Chapman. However, that year the center's roof collapsed.

''The center was located in the Community Activities Center for two years," she said. ''It moved back to its existing facility in 2003."

The NAEYC bases its decision for accreditation on the health and safety of the children at childcare facilities, interaction between the teacher and children in each classroom, the curriculum used and the materials provided for the children, said Ms. Chapman.

Ms. Webber said the other two CDCs here are also accredited by the NAEYC.