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Tomahawk Recreation Complex Early Childhood Development Center receives NAEYC Accreditation
POSTED: 12/07/2001
The Merriam Community Center Early Childhood Development Center recently became the fourth Johnson County Park and Recreation District childcare facility in and the third this year to be recognized with national accreditation.

"We have been recognized at a national level for providing children a quality learning environment," said Merriam Community Center Early Childhood Development Center Director Traci Summerlin. "By placing the NAEYC Torch next to our name, families will recognize our excellence and this could result in increased enrollment for our program."

The center was recently 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 Merriam Center's accreditation follows accreditation of the JCPRD's Tomahawk Recreation Complex Childhood Development Center in June 2001, the Roeland Park Early Childhood Development Center in February 2001 and the Overland Park Early Childhood Development Center's accreditation in March 2000.

In celebration of this achievement, the center is planning a public open house during January, bur a date and time have yet to be set. The Merriam center is located at 5701 Merriam Lane, Merriam.

Work toward this goal was completed by Summerlin and her staff, who inherited the project from a previous director.

"When beginning this job last December, I was aware that Merriam Child Development Center was in the early stages of the accreditation process," Summerlin said. "I was asked if this was something I felt I could accomplish and agreed to take on this task. I set this as one of my many goals for this center and have put a lot of effort into achieving this goal not only for me, but for my staff, children, and families. I wanted my center to be a quality center not only at the state level, but at a national level as well. This achievement is not awarded to every center and I feel very proud of our accomplishment!"

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 Sept. 13, 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.

At any given time, the Tomahawk Center serves approximately 18 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.

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 dedicated to improving the quality of early childhood education. NAEYC established accreditation in response to the growing number of American children spending large amounts of time in group settings away from home, and the uneven-and-often-inadequate consumer protection afforded by state licensing of child care facilities.

For further information about NAEYC or the accreditation process, access NAEYC’s web site ut or contact NAEYC’s Public Affairs Division at 202-232-8777 or 800-424-2460

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