BERLIN — The on-campus Child Development Center at White Mountains Community College was reaccredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as a high-quality program for early childhood education. The center is the only accredited child-care center in Berlin, and one of only three in Northern New Hampshire. The accreditation accompanied a perfect score in six out of the 10 standards, and high marks in the others.
“NAEYC accreditation helps parents find the best possible early-childhood educational opportunities for their children,” said Susan Cloutier, the center’s director. “It also indicates that our college students who are learning through the center as part of White Mountain Community College's Early Childhood Education programs are learning from the very best.”
Accreditation is a voluntary, ongoing process of continuous program improvement that includes a comprehensive self-study, input from parents, input from teachers, a comprehensive portfolio, and a site visit from a qualified assessor who performed evaluations of all of the center’s classrooms. Valid for five years, the accreditation signifies that the Child Development Center at White Mountain Community College meets 10 standards for high-quality early childhood education; specifically, the college surpassed 100 percent in the areas of assessment of child progress, community relationships and leadership and management, and received a 100 percent in relationships, health and teachers. Scores for curriculum, teaching, families and physical environment were close behind.
The accreditation has far-reaching impact not only on teachers and staff learning at White Mountain Community College, but also for its students and the future of Coos County and beyond. Research shows that the time between birth and age 5 is critical for developing the foundations for thinking, behaving and emotional well-being. Studies show that adults who participated in high quality educational programs in their early years stay in school longer, and are more likely to become productive adults.
Located at 15 Twitchell Lane across from the campus, White Mountain Community College’s Child Development Center and training lab serves children ages 12 weeks to 12 years old, and provides before-and-after-school care. All of the center’s teachers possess special training in early childhood education or special education, and most are working toward an advanced degree or certificate in early childhood education. The center is licensed, open to the public, and is eligible to offer reduced tuition on a sliding fee scale through N.H.'s Department of Health and Human Services to parents who meet income guidelines.