Early Childhood Education at RRCC Receives National Accreditation
Program raises quality of early childhood teacher education
LAKEWOOD, CO–Red Rocks Community College's Early Childhood Education program has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) following a rigorous three-year process. NAEYC’s Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation granted the accreditation without any conditions or required areas for improvement.
“RRCC’s department of early childhood education is delighted to have received national accreditation from NAEYC,” said Kathleen DeVries, early childhood education faculty. “This process allowed us to strengthen our mission as a faculty group as well as align and improve coursework. It will continue to inform us as we improve based on current research in the fields of child development and education.”
The NAEYC accreditation system establishes professional preparation standards to raise the quality of early childhood teacher education, and in turn raise the quality of early education programs serving young children. Only 10 percent of eligible programs in the U.S. have earned NAEYC accreditation.
Accreditation by NAEYC requires the following:
-Alignment of the college curriculum and assessments with national professional standards
-Student performance data that indicate degree graduates have demonstrated competence related to national professional standards
-Reflection and continuous program improvement related to meeting national professional standards in Colorado's unique state and community context, supporting Colorado's early childhood education initiatives
-Meeting national standards in ways that support the state goals, local community needs, and the needs of Colorado's diverse students and communities
As a result of standards such as those set by NAEYC, students are learning and developing competence in promoting children's development and learning, building positive relationships with families and communities, using knowledge about children to inform practice, using developmentally effective approaches to connect with children and families, using their general education in academic subjects to build meaningful curriculum for young children, and conducting themselves as members of the early childhood profession.
Clayton Early Learning and the Boettcher Foundation supported Red Rocks Community College as well as other Colorado community colleges in their accreditation.
“The leadership and faculty at Colorado’s community colleges are to be commended for their commitment to providing high quality early childhood teacher preparation programs,” said Tim Schultz, Boettcher president and executive director. “This is a tremendous day for the 250,000 young children receiving early care and education in Colorado. Clayton Early Learning helped facilitate this statewide push for better early childhood education, in partnership with RRCC and Colorado’s other community colleges.”
Other Colorado community colleges accredited through this team effort include Arapahoe Community College, Front Range Community College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak Community College, Pueblo Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, Aims Community College, and Colorado Mountain College.
“Colorado’s community college early childhood programs are a key component in Colorado’s high quality early childhood system,” said Dr. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado community college system. “With Governor Hickenlooper’s recent launch of ‘Colorado Reads: The Early Childhood Literacy Initiative,’ it is great to have our early childhood programs awarded NAEYC accreditation. Having the support from the Boettcher Foundation and Clayton Early Learning has strengthened our efforts in early childhood teacher preparation.”
More about Red Rocks Community College: Established in 1969, Red Rocks Community College delivers high-quality, affordable education programs leading to two-year degrees or professional certificates. The college serves over 15,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. www.rrcc.edu
More about the Colorado Community College System: The Colorado Community College System comprises the state's largest system of higher education, serving more than 162,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.