Child development weaves young personalities into whole human beings, chair says.
By Christina M. Briseno
This month, the early childhood studies department will submit a self-study to a national agency that accredits the program every seven years, chair Ellen Marshall said.
The self-study will be submitted by March 31. In October the National Association for the Education of Young Children sends a representative to review the department and decide if the program is worthy to be re-accredited for another seven years.
“I’m looking forward to getting the self-study done and getting it turned in,” Marshall said. “It really makes you look at yourself, your program and what needs to be changed for the better.”
The department’s faculty has met since last spring one to two times a week for a couple of hours to go over questions sent by the NAEYC. Questions address the program’s vision and the data kept on students’ performance.
By conducting the self-study, the department sheds light upon the quality of its childcare facilities, Marshall said.
“Think of a child as a rope; within each rope is a strand, and for the rope to be completed you must weave the strands together,” Marshall said. “We educate our students to use positive guidance and techniques to direct the child to a better understanding of what not to do.”
For example, the program does not use time-outs, which studies show do not benefit a child’s development, she said.
The early childhood center follows stricter rules and regulations because it is part of the NAEYC. Founded in the ‘70s, the associate degree program in 2009 was the first in San Antonio to become nationally credited, Marshall said. That means the department must do certain things with its students to make sure they get the best education possible, Marshall said.
“Some of our current early childhood students that are working to get their associate’s do what we call labs,” Marshall said. Students completing labs must be in one of these classrooms for six hours a week.
When the self-study is finished, the department looks over the report and makes sure everything is ready and organized for the meeting in the fall. The completed study is around 150 pages and includes the standards and key elements within the program.
“Coming close to the deadline has us a bit anxious, but looking at the report as a whole I’ve come to realize it’s going to be a strong one” Marshall said.
NAEYC regulations require the center to divide each age group into toddlers, pre-school and infants. Teachers who work there have at least an associate degree; some even have their bachelor’s degrees.
Typically a parent chooses childcare by convenience, cost and quality, she said. It is important to follow these guidelines with students, Marshall said.
“We try and educate our students so that way parents of these children know of the high-quality child care their child is receiving,” she said.