Danbury Public School’s Readiness Program received notification of its 5-year reaccreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on October 4, 2017. “We have been working on updating the materials, taking new pictures and improving our learning space for over the two last years. The NAEYC validator spent an entire day in the program and reviewed all of our materials and observed the program during her visit in July,” said Director Ingrid Norfleet. The accreditation encourages positive relationships among children, their teachers and their parents by providing an environment that encourages and supports learning with curriculum, individual child goals and program planning that enhances children’s learning.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children bases the accreditation on the program’s ability to meet 10 criteria. The DPS Readiness Program, supported by state school readiness funding, Care 4 Kids and family fees, operates at 10 Cottage Street and is run by Director Ingrid Norfleet. Family contributions are based on a sliding scale. “Parents hear that the center does so much for the children, the parents, the teachers and that their children are well-prepared for school,” Norfleet said.
The program has three classrooms with five teachers and four teaching assistants who instruct 56 three- to five-year olds between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Norfleet said putting together the portfolio of 140 pieces of documentation is an ongoing task and parent surveys, photos, written proof and other information validate the criteria. The criteria include relationships, curriculum, teaching, assessment of child progress, health, teachers, families, community relationships, physical environment and leadership and management.
The program received a nearly perfect score in nine criteria; the program requires more science and social studies embedded in its curriculum. To improve, the program will focus on professional development for science and social studies, hold science presentations for parents, include more physical activities and plant a community garden.
Accreditation is a step above licensing and requires that the staff document the work they do. It’s a stamp of approval for programs. More so, it shows all of the components that the program is proficient in, how hard the teachers work to attain it and how well children are prepared for kindergarten. “The program helps students and families get more involved in the classroom,” Norfleet said. “The school is a small community. These criteria help us see where the needs are. It’s a great process, and we make a big effort to get parents involved. You go above and beyond. You want to show everyone you are involved.”
Article submitted by Anne E. Mead, Ed. D. and Robin Provey, Public Relations for Danbury Public Schools.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.