Center scores high

Child Development Department reaccredited

The Los Medanos College Child Study Center was recently reaccredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children with a nearly perfect score.

“This is now our second time being reaccredited after our initial accreditation and it is quite a process,” said Pamela Perfumo, a faculty member of the Child Development Department.

The process required the child study center to submit an application to NAEYC as well as a processing fee, and then they had to begin collecting evidence that would best demonstrate their eligibility for accreditation.

“We conducted a lot of self study activities,” said Perfumo. These ‘activities’ included surveys provided by NAEYC that were distributed to the faculty and staff of the program, and the parents and children.

In addition the curriculum of the students was documented, all enrollment files for the children and staff were completed and made up to date, and classroom portfolios were created for each program. A portfolio for the entire center was assembled by Kathryn Nielsen, director of the child study center, which included parent handbooks and registration materials along with other information about the center.

Another aspect of the reaccreditation process was that an evaluator was sent by NAEYC would come to the child study center and observe a few different classrooms, then looks through and reviews all of the documentation submitted by the child study center.

“She offered so much high praise to our director,” said Perfumo about the evaluator. “We really are an example of how it should be done.”

While it is not necessary for preschools to be accredited, it is beneficial and leads to more opportunity for the students and program as a whole.

“In order for us to apply for other quality assurance we have to have and maintain NAEYC accreditation, so that’s the benchmark. If we don’t have this then we can’t apply for state funding or any other resources,” said Nielsen.

Angela Fantuzzi, a faculty member of the Child Development Department, recalled the time-consuming accreditation process which takes place every five years.

“You have to assess your own program and it includes ten different areas. It is really thorough and it’s a lot of work for the teachers, for the director,” said Fantuzzi about the process.

The child study center received impressive scores on their accreditation reports. In some categories scores went above 100 percent. The lowest score was that of 96 percent.

“To get accredited you have to be willing to continue to grow and implement all the changes in the field so if the state comes up with new benchmarks, we need to see how we can incorporate those into our program,” said Nielsen.

“So it’s constantly, always looking at quality,” she added.

After completing the process, Fantuzzi says, you can be sure that ‘your center is quality’ and emphasizes just how important quality care is to the development of children.

“So, with all of the studies saying that we are accredited and that we are quality it is almost saying, you know, we make a difference in the lives that come through us,” said Fantuzzi.

Impacting the early education and development of young children is just one of the advantages of the child study center. LMC students striving to earn an early childhood education degree may also find opportunity in the child study center where they have access to hands on experiences they might not get at other schools. Students that spend time in the child study center are referred to as ‘interns’ and can be recognized by their green aprons.

“If we didn’t have the interns, we couldn’t survive,” said Fantuzzi.

NAEYC ratios are one teacher for every nine students. Without the interns, the ratio of faculty to student would be roughly one to 20.

The program is a collaborative effort among faculty, interns, parents and, of course, the students. It is greatly stressed that quality education and care is provided to all students. Despite the high scores on the accreditation report, Fantuzzi says there is still room to improve.

“I’m not going to say we are perfect because that is a lie. There is always room to improve, there is always room to grow. But what we have here, it’s a beautiful thing,” said Fantuzzi.