It was the first Boston Public School (BPS) to earn a coveted National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation back in 2004. On last Friday the East Boston Early Education Center (EEC) had more to celebrate.
The BPS and NAEYC announced that the EEC has been reaccredited. The announcement launched a daylong celebration at the school last Friday complete with a visit from BPS Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson.
“Strengthening and expanding the district’s early childhood programming is a key strategy for closing achievement gaps among students, and we are pleased that so many of our schools are pursuing accreditation of their early childhood programs,” said Dr. Johnson. “NAEYC accreditation is an incredibly rigorous process that focuses the entire school community on bringing its work in line with national best practices and we congratulate these schools on their accomplishment.”
Aside from the EEC, it was announced that the Winship and Warren/Prescott would also earn accreditation by the NAEYC. Now a total of six BPS schools have earned an accreditation.
To earn NAEYC accreditation in the new system, the EEC went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against ten new NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria.
The school received NAEYC accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC Assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the ten NAEYC program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.
In the 20 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 11,000 programs, serving one million young children, are currently accredited by NAEYC – approximately eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.
“The new NAEYC Accreditation system raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Executive Director of NAEYC Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D. “The ECC’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.”
The NAEYC Accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. As of September 2006, the Association’s revised program standards and criteria have introduced a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children in child care programs. The new standards reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development.
At the EEC Friday, Dr. Johnson attended an assembly with Principal Olga Frechon, staff and guests. Following the speaking program and a musical performance by a group of students, Dr. Johnson visited the school’s new Montessori program.
This school year the EEC became the first neighborhood to host BPS’s first ever Montessori classroom.
Twenty students entering preschool and kindergarten will be taught in the Montessori philosophy.
“It’s learning through all five senses and allowing children to work on activities that interest them instead of imposing activities,” said Frechon. “I love the approach because there is a philosophy to the curriculum, it’s an intellectual program. I think it makes a lot of sense for children.”