Wayne Community College’s Early Childhood Education program has earned national accreditation.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation has granted accreditation to WCC associate degree program in early childhood education.
“This is not just an honor, but also a validation that our Early Childhood Education program is as good as we believe it to be,” said Dr. Kay H. Albertson, president of the college. “National accreditation means our instruction and our instructors stack up to the best in this country, and our graduates will provide a level of care that any parent should want and, we hope, will seek, for his or her child.”
“Early Childhood Education has a special place in my heart because it is where I got my start. That not only makes me biased, but also a qualified critic. So when I say I am proud of WCC’s program, I mean it thoroughly,” Dr. Albertson said.
To earn NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation, programs conduct a rigorous self-study process in collaboration with stakeholders, culminating in a report demonstrating how the program meets the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards within its community context. The program hosts an external peer review, and findings are presented to the Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation for an accreditation decision.
WCC was fortunate to have received a N.C. Community College System grant that funded its year-long self study and the onsite visit by the peer review team, Instructor Sherry Granberry said.
The site visit involved meetings with stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and advisory committee members, and observation of classes, as well as tours of practicum sites.
“The purpose of the self study and site visit is to determine if the program meets the standards, to prove that we are committed to those standards, Ms. Granberry said.
The result was that “they were impressed with everything,” said Ms. Granberry. But, for the faculty at WCC, the evaluation process is ongoing. “There were some things we will change as a result of the self study.”
The accreditation report noted that “the program is held in high regard in the community” and “is valued by many community partners.”
“The campus child care center was also noted as a program strength by students, faculty, administrators, and community partners. The program faculty, who are well qualified, are another program strength,” the report also stated.
“We demonstrated that we know what quality is,” Ms. Granberry said. “This shows the level of our commitment. Raising the quality of teacher education increases the quality of the early childhood programs serving young children.”
“We’re proud of our program and proud that the students can say they came from an accredited program,” Ms. Granberry said.
That pride is shared by WCC’s community partners. “The Partnership for Children is extremely proud of the collaborative work that they are doing with Wayne Community College Early Childhood department,” said Valerie Wallace, Partnership for Children of Wayne County’s assistant executive director.
“Many good endeavors have transpired over the past several years,” Ms. Wallace said. “Knowing that the WCC Early Childhood Department meets high accreditation standards is reassuring that students are receiving the most current and developmentally appropriate information that will benefit them in their future endeavors. We look forward to the continued success of this department and more collaborative ventures.”
WCC’s degree program leads to an associate in applied science in Early Childhood Education. Students are qualified to receive the N.C. Early Childhood Credential. The college also offers Early Childhood Education, Administrator’s, Special Needs, and Infant/Toddler Care certificates.
Federal Head Start regulations require an associate degree or higher for teachers, and many states include early childhood associate degrees in their Quality Rating and Improvement Systems for child care and preschool programs. NAEYC’s professional standards for early childhood degree programs provide a high measure of quality by which teacher education programs can be evaluated.
WCC’s accreditation brings the total number of NAEYC accredited programs in North Carolina to 25 and 193 in 30 states since the launch of the accreditation system in 2006.
For more information about the NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation System, go to www.naeyc.org/ecada/.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has nearly 80,000 members worldwide. The Association is the largest and most influential advocate for early care and education in the United States.
The NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation awards accreditation to associate degree programs that demonstrate evidence of meeting the Professional Preparation Standards. Accreditation provides a framework for self study, external evaluation and improvement in the quality of teacher preparation programs.
Wayne Community College is a public, two-year college with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, it serves 15,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 100 college credit programs.