For Immediate Release - Southwest Tennessee Community College

Date: January 13, 2011

Southwest Tennessee Community College Early Childhood Education Center Earns National Accreditation

Recent accreditation places center in top eight percent in the nation

The Early Childhood Education Center at Southwest's Union Avenue Campus has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.

"We're proud to have earned this mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards," said Center Director Mary Palmer, who also teaches in the college's early childhood degree program. "NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible."

Palmer describes the mission of the Southwest centers (at both the Union Avenue and Macon Cove campuses) as serving "as academic and support services for students attending Southwest, as well as faculty, staff and parents from the community." And she is quick to say, "We aren't daycare." Most of the center employees have bachelor's or master's degrees in early childhood education, several have associate degrees, and the rest have the nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

To earn NAEYC Accreditation, The Early Childhood Center went through 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 program received NAEYC Accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the 10 program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.

In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC approximately 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.

"The NAEYC Accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs," said Jerlean E. Daniel, Ph.D, executive director of NAEYC. "Having earned NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that The Early Childhood Education Center is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education."

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Photo Caption: Southwest Child Care Center Director Mary Palmer with a group of her students.

For more information contact: Pat O'Brien, (901) 333-4021 pobrien@southwest.tn.edu, Farris Bldg., Room 1002, 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134