INA – The Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center is held to the highest child care standard in the country. For the past six months, it has been tested on that standard of excellence. Officials found out today that they passed with flying colors.

Being accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children was a huge leap for the Center when it opened in 1998. Monday’s news was another milestone as officials learned of being reaccredited until 2012.

Since NAEYC created its accreditation system in 1985, the honor has become a widely recognized sign of high quality in early childhood education programs. Today there are more than 10,000 NAEYC-accredited programs, serving more than 850,000 young children and their families.

NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. To earn it, the early childhood education program at RLC volunteered to be measured against the most robust and rigorous national standards on education, health and safety.

Because of delays associated with the NAEYC’s reinvention of the accreditation process, RLCF Children’s Center officials and staff successfully completed the year-long process in six months.

“Our center is one of the best in Southern Illinois and the nation,” RLCF Children’s Center Director Peggy Dolce said. “Our administration and teaching staff is involved in quality early care and education for children.”

Becoming accredited through the NAEYC is a three-tiered process, she explained. First, the Center conducts a self-study to evaluate 10 areas of the program’s operations. Then it submits a candidacy report to the NAEYC. Finally, the Center is visited by a representative of the NAEYC. At RLC, that visit took place in July.

Although the hard work has paid off, there is no down time. The Center will work to provide an annual report to the NAEYC each year.

“We have found that it is best to keep the documentation and evidence updated and on-hand,” Dolce said. “A NAEYC representative can do a spot visit here at any time.”

Plans are to hold an event in celebration of this accomplishment and for those who made it happen, she added.

“Proud is not the right adjective,” she said of staff at the Center. “I am overwhelmed with the work they do every day. They do an exceptional job. They are a dedicated and hardworking staff that truly holds the interest of children in the highest regard. We work hard every day to provide high quality education for children.”

The RLCF Children’s Center was established on the Ina campus in October of 1998 and received its first NAEYC Accreditation that year. It has since opened another center at the RLC MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon where coordinators are working to earn the same accreditation. The new center, which opened its doors in August, must be operational for a full year before it can apply for accreditation.

For more information about this release, one may contact Dolce at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1393 or RLCF CEO Pat Kern at Ext. 1324.

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