Why NAEYC, what is it, and why did we embark on the daunting task of becoming NAEYC accredited?!
NAEYC stands for The National Association of Education of Young Children; thank goodness they have an acronym! Accreditation is not mandatory and can be very overwhelming. At TPA, we decided it would be a good idea to obtain accreditation to ensure we had covered all the important bases in running a preschool. Being privately owned, it felt important to know that the highest level had been achieved in all areas of the preschool. NAEYC has ten standards which encompass everything from the families, children, teaching staff to the facility itself. We liked and "hated" :) how thorough the process is and felt everyone at TPA would benefit from the process of gaining accreditation.
I will not lie, it was quite intense. I met with my teachers often and we worked as a team for the past two years to complete the required materials. It was stressful at times, and I know my team had days that felt extremely overwhelming. Now that it is over, we all agree it was worth it. The knowledge we gained, the policies we had to think through, and the overall awareness of every little detail concerning a preschool was invaluable. We now have an extensive platform for excellence that addresses every detail and is consistent throughout the building. Although there were many days I was overwhelmed myself, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I found holes in my policies and was forced to think through aspects of the preschool I had never even considered.
I am thankful for the journey and appreciate the challenge. I believe most things in life worth doing aren't easy. I knew at the end the teachers and I would have a great sense of accomplishment, and we do. I wanted to write this blog before we know if we reached accreditation so it wouldn't be about the final product, but rather the process. I am thankful for the lessons learned and the knowledge gained. It felt great to have a common goal with my team and to work tirelessly toward achievement. I loved seeing my team grow and stretch beyond their comfort zone. I loved seeing the satisfaction in their face when they had completed their portfolio; a quite intimidating and time consuming task. It is awesome when something stretches you past what you thought was possible. This is what NAEYC did for our school, and I am tremendously thankful for the opportunity. We will find out if we reached accreditation in the next 60-90 days. I know one thing for sure, our team gave their best and I couldn't be more proud.