Over the past year, The UT Early Learning Center for Research and Practice (ELC) has been working to become recognized as an accredited program by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Becoming accredited by the NAEYC is no easy task, involving a rigorous application and assessment process. In order to be accredited, early education programs must meet the NAEYC’s 10 standards for high-quality early childhood education, demonstrate that they provide a safe and healthy environment for children, have well-trained educators, utilize excellent teaching materials, and work with a curriculum that is appropriately challenging and developmentally sound (“The Value of a NAEYC-Accredited Program”, 2018).
The ELC is proud to announce that they have completed the application and assessment process and the ELC is now accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children! “The highlight of the NAEYC accreditation process was the self-assessment piece,” said Assistant Director Elizabeth DeMartino Newton. “As we spent time building portfolios and documentation that showcased our program’s practices, policies, and mission, we took the opportunity to look critically at our work and to think carefully about how we can best share and demonstrate it. The process also offered us a valuable lens through which to view our thinking and practices, and proved to be a learning experience for us, which is all we can hope for. The process was validating for our team, and we were thrilled to get word of accreditation a few weeks ago,” Newton continued.
The Early Learning Center has always aimed to be a high quality, model early education program. ELC Director Robyn Brookshire said, “NAEYC accreditation signals that our program strives for continuous improvement and that our work is recognized by the largest professional association in early childhood. As a model demonstration site, our program accreditation supports outreach to other programs and professionals in our field. Preparing for accreditation visits also keeps our teachers and students connected to some of the well-known professional standards in early childhood education in the U.S.”
Please join us in celebrating the dedicated team at the Early Learning Center for their efforts in bringing high-quality early education to the Knoxville community!