July 15, 2009
Professor Gayle Van Dijk
Southwestern Accreditation Facilitative Projects’ Collaboration
The goal of an early childhood program is to prepare children from birth to five for kindergarten. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning (Prepare My Child for School, http://www.ed.gov/parents/earlychild/ready/resources.html)”. The Obama Administration under his Education Act has established an array of services to help daycare providers and early childhood centers to continue to achieve this goal. Although daycares are responsible for teaching children the knowledge they need to thrive, it is dually important to empower parents and guardians with information to reinforce their child’s learning. We also empower families by providing resources, websites and do trainings for parents.
When I founded Affordable and Loving Childcare, LLC in 2002, I had one purpose and that was to nurture children by providing a safe and structured learning environment. However, I recognized very early that “it takes a village to raise a child”. In an effort to move towards excellence, I began building a team of staff who valued children and education. As I worked diligently to obtain my associates degree in 2005 – I would encounter some difficulties dealing with some families and others would be long lasting trusting relationships.
I knew that I eventually wanted to become accredited so I became a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2003. In 2006, I began attending Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC) conferences and networking and that was where I met other day providers and was encouraged to pursue accreditation.
The program collaboration I chose to research is the Southwestern Accreditation Facilitative Projects (SWAFP), but first I must tell you a little about its service center alliance: Education Connection. “The Education Connection is one of Connecticut’s 6 Regional Service Centers. Their mission as a regional educational service centers in western Connecticut is to promote the success of school districts and their communities” http://firstname.lastname@example.org and collaboratively with them they provide educational and related services. They get their funding from the Federal grant money.
Southwestern Accreditation Facilitative Projects is a component of the Education Connection’s services collaboration. “It is a statewide initiative to improve the quality of early childhood programs through NAEYC accreditation and to provide training to early childhood caregivers. Support to programs is provided through workshops, group meetings, on-site technical assistance, staff development opportunities, and shared resources.”
“The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation is a voluntary system designed to guide early childhood programs in making quality improvements to meet physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs of young children through compliance with national standards.” http://naeyc.org
As a daycare provider it is my responsibility to provide quality, healthy and safe programs to both children and families. AFP (short for SWAFP) is an organization that offers a variety of services from birth to five. But I will discuss the collaboration Affordable & Loving Childcare (A&LC) has with them and how they are meeting our goal and needs for children, school and the community. The characteristics of the family and community are diverse, supporting all economic backgrounds and not discriminating against any race, creed, or disability. Right now we have a group daycare of children (licensed for 12 children) with single parents, teenaged moms and working families. We are...