(Posted May 21, 2019)

Huntingdon, Pa. – The Juniata College Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) has been recognized among the top in the nation as it has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Kristin Buonaccorsi, ECEC director. “Having a NAEYC accreditation means that the ECEC has highly qualified teachers who implement research-based, best practices for young children’s development and learning.”

NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality improvement in high-quality early learning environments. “We’ve been accredited since 2001,” Buonaccorsi said. “The accreditation is renewed every five years. The process is quite extensive. The staff worked really hard to look at the assessment items and to find examples of how we meet them ahead of the site visit.”

NAEYC accreditation was founded 30 years ago and is now a widely-recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. Juniata’s ECEC joins more than 7,000 programs accredited by NAEYC, comprising less than 10 percent of all childcare centers, preschools and kindergartens in the nation. “NAEYC-accredited programs bring our definitions of excellence for early childhood education to life each day,” said Kristen Johnson, senior director of Early Learning Program Accreditation at NAEYC. “Earning NAEYC Accreditation makes the Juniata College Early Childhood Education Center an exemplar of good practice for families and the entire community.”

To earn the NAEYC Accreditation, the ECEC went through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the 10 program standards and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. NAEYC-accredited programs are always prepared for unannounced quality-assurance visits during their accreditation term, which lasts for five years. The center has also achieved the highest state rating as a Keystone STAR 4 Center and is also licensed by the Pennsylvania State Department of Human Services.

“At the center, teachers provide a nurturing, developmentally appropriate and child-centered environment which focuses on developing the whole child,” said Buonaccorsi. “The teachers here are truly a group of dedicated professionals who lovingly and passionately help each child to develop and grow to his or her highest potential.”

Programs are offered from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is also an all-day option from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday (children who attend all day pack their lunches). Parents can opt to have students attend from two days a week to five days a week. An aftercare option is available from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday as well. Students are currently being accepted for the 2019-2020 school year. For more information, contact Buonaccorsi at 641-3400 or buonack@juniata.edu. Tuition grants and subsidized childcare are available if there is financial need. 

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.