Central Michigan University is the first in the state to receive
National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation for its undergraduate programs in
early childhood development and learning.
The NAEYC has announced accreditation of three CMU degrees:
- Bachelor of Science in Education degree in early childhood development and learning, provisional elementary certification.
- Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in early childhood development and learning.
- Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood development and learning.
In CMU's early childhood development and learning programs, students gain crucial developmental skills and strategies needed to prepare young children for lifelong success.
The programs are suited to students who plan to work in early childhood settings, such as child care centers, preschools, Head Start and Early Head Start programs and for those interested in teaching young children in elementary schools.
Students with the Bachelor of Science in Education degree can teach in elementary schools. Students with the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Applied Arts degrees tend to teach in other settings.
"Accreditation advances the whole field of early childhood development," said
human environmental studies faculty member Joellen Lewsader, who spearheaded the effort as accreditation lead. "This is another step in reinforcing early childhood education as a profession."
Early childhood education at CMU dates back more than 50 years. The Human Growth and Development Laboratory was established in 1971 and renamed the
Child Development and Learning Laboratory when it moved to the Education and Human Services Building in 2009.
Today, more than 225 CMU students each semester complete coursework requiring observation and/or direct participation with young children as part of child development, early childhood development and learning, or other related programs.
"NAEYC accreditation is important" said College of Education and Human Services Interim Dean Betty Kirby. "It affirms the quality, rigor and high standards of our early childhood programs."
To earn and retain NAEYC accreditation, programs must show they:
- Align to the association's professional preparation standards.
- Respond to the unique needs of their degree candidates and communities.
- Provide intentional learning experiences for their degree candidates to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to be effective early childhood educators.
- Continuously assess and reflect on their degree candidates' performance.
"We congratulate all of the programs that achieved accreditation in this recent review cycle," said Mary Harrill, NAEYC senior director of higher education. "This is a pivotal way in which they demonstrate their commitment to preparing high-quality early childhood educators and willingness to be held accountable to the profession and the public for ensuring that their graduates are ready to be effective in early learning settings."
NAEYC is the professional organization that sets national standards for programs that prepare early childhood teachers of children from birth through age 8. The association now accredits 207 programs in 40 states.