Penn College Children's Learning Center Gets a Gold Star!

Published 07.12.1998


In the arena of children's care and education, The Children's Learning Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology has been awarded a gold star.

The center has earned accreditation by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, the nation's oldest and largest organization of early-childhood professionals. Awarded to high quality, professional early-childhood programs, the accreditation has been achieved by only about 5 percent of programs nationwide.

NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous, voluntary process by which early-childhood programs demonstrate that they meet national standards of excellence. Programs seeking accreditation undergo an intensive self-study, followed by on-site visits by early-childhood professionals specially trained by NAEYC.

Karen Woland Payne, director of The Children's Learning Center at Penn College, stated, "We have been working toward this prestigious credential for some time and we are very proud to have achieved it.

"The heart of NAEYC accreditation focuses on the child's experience. The process carefully considers all aspects of program provision including health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications, administration, and physical environment. But the greatest emphasis is on the children's relationships with the staff and how the program helps each child grow and learn intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally."

According to Woland Payne, research supports the value of accreditation for children. Children's language skills and social skills especially benefit from the higher quality found in NAEYC-accredited programs. "These are critical areas for children's success in school, as well as in life," the director added.

In addition to being a distinct sign of quality for the center's children and their families, the NAEYC accreditation also is beneficial to Penn College's early childhood education students.

Woland Payne explained, "It is important to Penn College early childhood education students to have experience working in a program which demonstrates the developmentally appropriate practices required for accreditation."

NAEYC accreditation began in 1985, with the first program accredited in 1986. The organization established accreditation in response to the growing number of American children spending large amounts of time in group settings away from home.

Penn College's Children's Learning Center provides developmentally appropriate early childhood education for preschoolers, ages 2½ to 5, as well as a private kindergarten that is now in its third year.

This year, enrollment at the facility is anticipated to be about 55 youngsters. According to Woland Payne, more than half are children of Penn College students. Children of College employees, alumni and the general public also are enrolled.

In addition to the director, The Children's Learning Center employs three teachers, three assistant teachers and several College students. The center also enjoys the expertise of the College's early childhood education faculty and students who use the facility for observations, course work and practicums.

For more information on The Children's Learning Center at Penn College or to enroll a child, contact Woland Payne at (570) 320-8026 or 326-3761, ext. 7239.