Pre-kindergarten programs at Forest Park, Franke Park, Harrison Hill and Indian Village elementary schools have earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Maplewood and Northcrest elementary schools, which have been accredited since 2009, received re-accreditation.
"This designation recognizes our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards in educating our youngest students," said Barbara Roberts, Title 1 pre-K instructional coach for Fort Wayne Community Schools. "NAEYC Accreditation allows families in our community to know that children in our programs are getting the best care and learning experiences."
Fifteen of the district's Title 1 pre-K programs, as well as the program at Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, are NAEYC accredited. The pre-K program at Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center is accredited by the American Montessori Society.
To earn NAEYC accreditation, the programs at Forest Park, Franke Park, Harrison Hill, Indian Village, Maplewood and Northcrest underwent an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The programs received NAEYC re-accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure they met each of the standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts five years.
In the years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 7,000 programs nationwide are currently accredited by NAEYC, about 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.
"It's a lengthy and rigorous process to achieve NAEYC Accreditation, and Fort Wayne Community Schools' Title I Pre-K Programs should be commended for seeking high standards," said Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of NAEYC. "Caring for children is not rocket science – it's brain science. Studies prove that the brain connections made in the first few years of life set a child's path for success in school and in life. That's why quality educators are so crucial. For parents and caregivers of young children who are searching for a high-quality early learning experience, this accreditation is a sign that FWCS offers a high-quality education in a nurturing and stimulating environment."