Daycare facility receives ranking

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 6, 2000

Head Start programs in the county have received national recognition for their quality of early childhood education.

Monday, March 06, 2000

Head Start programs in the county have received national recognition for their quality of early childhood education.

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One-Stop Head Start Child Care became the most recent of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization’s Head Start centers to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), program administrator Mike McDonald said.

"They set the standards for best practices in child care," McDonald said.

The state has license standards that set minimum requirements for early childhood programs like those run by Head Start, he said.

"This goes way beyond that," he said.

At the One Stop Head Start – the daycare facility at the Workforce Development Center’s One Stop Center – site supervisor Terry Lewis said the accreditation is a boost to staff and parent confidence.

A stack of paperwork about the local program’s education practices, staff training and daycare facility was completed during the accreditation’s year-long process, Mrs. Lewis said.

And a team of inspectors made on-site visits, looking over the meal program, watching staff teach and observing interaction between parents, teachers and children, she said.

"They do look at everything," Mrs. Lewis said.

The accreditation means that the One Stop Head Start’s child care is as good as parents can get anywhere, she said.

"They can go on to a job and know their child has been left in a positive environment."

The One Stop Head Start serves children ages 18 months to 5 years or kindergarten ready. Eligibility is based on income but the center can conduct some private daycare.

Five other Head Start centers in Lawrence County also have achieved the NAEYC accreditation, McDonald said.

Those are Andis Head Start, Sybene Head Start, Early Childhood Center Head Start, Getaway Head Start at the Collins Career Center and South Point Head Start Child Care.

Central Head Start is in the accreditation process.

Because all the CAO’s centers meet state standards, the Head Start program did not have to undergo the NAEYC process, but officials chose the voluntary accreditation as a path for improvement, McDonald said.

"It’s like anything else," he said. "If you’re not always improving, then you’re slipping back."

Head Start also underwent accreditation because elementary schools realize that learning starts when children 2 or 3 years old.

"We’re part of that," McDonald said. "If they’re not passing exams in school, perhaps there’s something Head Start can be doing before they get there."

It’s the staff that makes it possible, McDonald said.

"I can’t say enough about how grateful I am we have a dedicated Head Start staff that makes this accreditation possible," he said.

And Mrs. Lewis credits staff at the One Stop Head Start, too.

"When parents come back and visit you or bring the kids back to visit, you’re doing something right."