~ Program joins the top eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs nationwide ~ 

WATERVILLE, Maine — The Children's Place Early Care and Education Center, as part of The Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers, has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) — the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.

The Children's Place Early Care & Education Center
The Children's Place Early Care & Education Center

"We're proud to have earned the mark of quality from the NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards in early care and education," said Richard Dorian, executive director of The Maine Children's Home. "NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our high-quality program have teachers who create engaging classrooms, enhance relationships with their parents and families, and develop rich experiences for their students. This directly relates to The Maine Children's Home's mission-to build and strengthen families and their children, instilling hope for the future and a better quality of life."

The Children's Place provides comprehensive early care and education services for children from infancy through age five. The fully licensed facility accommodates 52 children in one of five developmentally appropriate, learning-focused classrooms.

NAEYC logoTo earn the elite NAEYC Accreditation, The Children's Place went through an extensive three-year process, measuring the program's services against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation criteria. The standards reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development. The program received NAEYC Accreditation after an onsite visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure the program meets and demonstrates the ten program standards.

Of the ten standards identified by the NAEYC, including teaching, assessment of child progress, physical environment, and relationship with families, The Children's Place received 100 percent in nine of the areas. In the final standard, a 97 percent was awarded. NAEYC Accreditation remains active for five years, when The Children's Place will apply for reaccreditation.

"To be recognized as a program of excellence helps to celebrate our ongoing commitment to providing an early care and education environment that supports each child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth and development," said The Children's Place program director, Mandi Howard.

In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high quality and a gold standard for early childhood education. Approximately 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC-about eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.

"It's a lengthy and rigorous process to achieve NAEYC Accreditation, and The Children's Place should be commended for seeking high standards," said Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of NAEYC. "Caring for children is not 'rocket science'-it's brain science. Studies prove that the brain connections made in the first few years of life set a child's path for success in school and in life. That's why quality educators are so critical. For parents and caregivers of young children who are searching for a high-quality early learning experience, The Children's Place's NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that it offers a high-quality education in a nurturing and stimulating environment."

The NAEYC Accreditation doubles the early care tax credit due to the recognition of quality, benefiting families in the central Maine community using The Children's Place. The early care and education organization is developing plans to increase openings for children in the near future.

To learn more about The Children's Place Early Care and Education center, visit mainechildrenshome.org/the-childrens-place.php, or contact Program Manager Mandi Howard at mhoward@mainechildrenshome.org or 207-877-2258.