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September 26, 2002

Theiss child care center accredited

The Matilda H. Theiss Child Development Center (MTCDC) recently received accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

NAEYC accreditation, a rigorous, voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence, has been met by only 7 percent of early childhood programs nationwide, said Jeannette Carolina, deputy director at MTCDC. Child care centers, preschools, kindergartens and before- and after-school programs are eligible to seek NAEYC accreditation.

Programs seeking accreditation undergo a self-study, collecting information from parents, teachers, administrators and classroom observations. They receive an on-site visit, conducted by early childhood professionals especially trained by NAEYC, to validate the self-study results. All of this information is reviewed independently by a team of national experts who grant or defer accreditation. When awarded, accreditation is valid for three years.

"NAEYC accreditation is an honor and a tribute to a large number of individuals who have given and continue to give dedicated service at MTCDC," said Carolina. "The heart of NAEYC 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."

"Research supports the value of accreditation for children's programs," said Vaughan Stagg, MTCDC clinical director and assistant professor of psychiatry at Pitt's School of Medicine. "Children's language and social skills — critical areas for their success in school and in life — especially benefit from the better quality found in NAEYC-accredited programs."

The Matilda H. Theiss Child Development Center is part of UPMC Health System and is affiliated with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

It serves approximately 70 children ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 3

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