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Tomahawk Recreation Complex Early Childhood Development Center Receives Accreditation
POSTED: 06/29/2001
The Tomahawk Recreation Complex Early Childhood Development Center recently became the third Johnson County Park and Recreation District childcare facility to be recognized with national accreditation within the past year.

"You put so much time and effort into your center to make it a quality program and it is nice to be recognized for your accomplishments and dedication to early education," said Tomahawk Recreation Complex Early Childhood Development Center Director Angie Boyd.

In celebration of this achievement, the center is planning a public open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 in the West Room of the Tomahawk Complex, 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee,

In late June, the center was granted accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This prestigious recognition has been achieved by only approximately seven percent of early childhood programs nationwide. The Tomahawk Center's accreditation follows accreditation of the JCPRD's Roeland Park Early Childhood Development Center in February 2001 and the Overland Park Early Childhood Development Center's accreditation in March 2000.

Work toward this goal was completed by Boyd, who initiated the project. Staff members Betty and Jessica Dunn also helped.

NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous voluntary process by which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence. Child care centers, preschools, kindergartens, and before- and after-school program are eligible to seek NAEYC accreditation.

Programs seeking accreditation undergo an intensive self-study, collecting information from parents, teachers, administrators, and classroom observations. They receive an on-site visit, conducted by early childhood professionals especially trained by NAEYC to validate their self-study results. The Roeland Park Center's visit took place on March 29, 2001. All of this information is independently reviewed by a team of national experts who grant or defer accreditation. When awarded, accreditation is valid for three years.

“The heart of NAEYC accreditation focuses on the child’s experience,” said Barbara Willer, spokesperson for NAEYC. "The process carefully considers all aspects of a program, including health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications, and physical environment.

"The goal of our cirriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners," Boyd added. "This means encouraging children to be active and creative explorers who are not afraid to try out their own ideas. We provide a safe and stimulating environment where children can feel successful in their efforts."

At any given time, the Tomahawk Center serves approximately 24 children ranging in age from three to five. The center will now proudly display the NAEYC torch-the sign of NAEYC accreditation. The torch logo indicates programs which have made a commitment to excellence for young children and families.

In all, 7,545 programs serving approximately 684,845 children had achieved accreditation as of Oct. 1, 2000. The approximately 15,000 programs seeking this prestigious honor includes the JCPRD's other two Early Childhood Development Centers, which are each at different stages of the accreditation process. The Merriam Early Childhood Development Center, 5701 Merriam Lane, Merriam, recently submitted its accreditation paperwork in May, while the Indian Creek Technology Center Early Childhood Development Center, 4401 W. 103rd, Overland Park, which opened in September 2000, is not eligible for accreditation until it has been open at least one year. Also starting the accreditation process are three of the JCPRD's 19 Afterschool Care Programs: Brookwood, 3411 W. 103rd Street, Overland Park; Mill Creek, 13951 W. 79th Street, Lenexa; and Sunflower, 8955 Loiret, Lenexa.

NAEYC accreditation began in 1985, with the first program accredited in 1986. NAEYC is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of early childhood professionals d

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