Smithfield Herald

Early childhood program earns national accreditation

Johnston Community College’s degree program in early childhood education has received full accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC.

In North Carolina, JCC’s associate degree program is one of 31 accredited by the NAEYC. Nationwide, 170 programs in 32 states hold accreditation.

To earn NAEYC accreditation, programs conduct a self-study in collaboration with stakeholders, culminating in a report demonstrating how the program meets NAEYC standards. The program hosts an external peer review and presents findings to the NAEYC’s Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation.

Research shows a high-quality early childhood education workforce leads to positive outcomes for children from birth through age 8.

Erin Smith, director of early childhood and allied health programs at JCC, said NAEYC’s professional standards for early childhood degree programs provide a high measure of quality by which to evaluate teacher education programs.

“This has been a goal for JCC since 2006,” Smith said. “We want our early care and education professionals to have the knowledge and skills they need to be highly effective and to ensure appropriate, high-quality environments for young children with whom they work.

“This national accreditation validates our program in terms of educational quality and ensures that our graduates who are looking for jobs in the area have received the right types of instruction, assignments and hands-on experience to make them highly-qualified early childhood educators.”

JCC’s accreditation lasts until 2022.