On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, PBS NC and the Children’s Council of Watauga County will recognize local early care and education programs who are going above and beyond to provide high quality care to the children enrolled in their programs.
The early care and education programs that will be recognized are enrolled in the Pathways to Accreditation Program and receive on-going, specialized technical assistance, coaching and mentoring. The Pathways to Accreditation Program supports the directors and teachers in creating high-quality early learning environments for the young children who are enrolled in their programs.
“The COVID pandemic has been particularly hard on this industry,” says Elisha Childers, Executive Director of the Children’s Council. “When we got the call from PBS NC a couple of months ago saying that they wanted to recognize our local providers and treat them to a professional development workshop and dinner, we were thrilled! The timing is perfect because, even considering the setbacks of the pandemic, we have some incredible providers who have not taken their eye off the ball and who have remained committed to their work to provide a higher standard of care to children. Several of the programs have achieved the accreditation standards set forth by our Pathways to Accreditation program, and this gives us the perfect opportunity to recognize them.”
The Pathways to Accreditation program was launched in 2019 by the Children’s Council and is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for early childhood care and education programs. The program focuses on eight standards: Relationships with Children, Leadership and Management, Family Partnerships, Curriculum, Developmentally Appropriate Teaching Practices, Indoor and Outdoor Environments, Child Assessment, Healthy Living, Community Relationships, and Behavioral Support.
The purpose of the Pathways to Accreditation Program is to give ongoing support to early educators to enhance the quality of early childcare settings by increasing positive teacher-child interactions, developmentally appropriate practices, and professionalism of the early childcare workforce. “It is a prestigious accomplishment to get accredited,” says Hunter Varipapa, Early Care & Education Director at the Children’s Council. “Our trained staff offers high-quality training, mentoring and professional development to help providers meet these higher standards. We are so proud of our local providers.”
There are 20 licensed childcare programs in Watauga County. The following programs have accepted the challenge to meet a higher standard of care and are enrolled in the Pathways to Accreditation program: Appalachian State University Child Development Center, Sugar Grove Developmental Day School, Lynhill Child Development Center, Merry-land Academy, Mountain Pathways Montessori School, Sunnyside Day Care, Western TLC Headstart, all of the eight elementary schools NC Pre-K sites, and the following family child care homes: Little Jewels, Someplace Special, Small Blessings, and Precious and Few. While some programs are further along than others in achieving all of accreditation standards, the directors and providers in these early learning centers are making a concerted effort to improve their knowledge, increase their education, and to implement practices that result in higher quality care and early childhood education for children.
In addition to dinner, fun, recognition, and give-a-ways, the PBS NC Team will provide a workshop from the Rootle PBS KIDS Playful Learning Workshop Series, which will allow providers to earn important continuing education credits for their profession. On April 12th, the PBS NC team will also offer a similar workshop for parents, caregivers, and providers, believing it is important that providers and parents have the same information so activities and strategies that contribute to positive child development in the early childhood classroom, can be reinforced at home. These workshops are made possible by Grant Number 90TP0056-03-00 from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Children’s Council of Watauga County has been serving children and families in Watauga County for forty-five years. The mission is to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development by strengthening families, the early childhood system, and the community. To learn more, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org or visit us at 225 Birch Street, Suite 2 Boone, NC 28607.