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While both accredited and non-accredited preschools have similar ideas on structure and environments, only an accredited preschool prepares the child for school-like program. What is an accredited preschool? To be accredited, a daycare or preschool must prove that it actually offers programs known to benefit children rather than simply baby sit them. An accredited preschool is offered by National Association for the Education of Young Children also known as, NAEYC. Both daycares and preschools are required to be accredited and licensed by the government.
This means that teachers must meet minimum standards and that the daycare meets health and safety codes. The building itself must pass health codes too.
A non-accredited preschool has cheaper prices, is less structured and uses enriching activities such as using art through play. The curriculum is based off of learning through play, which lets the child use techniques throughout the day, during what is called “free play”. Schedules created by teachers must meet the standards created by the government and must meet the requirements suggested.
Specific licensing standards vary by state and there are minimum standards by the government. Children spend all day at the facility whereas children who attend an accredited preschool only spend half of their day at the preschool. Most daycares accept younger children such as infants and toddlers. They provide childcare for school age children after school hours up to the age of twelve. Child ratios to teachers are higher for example in the Arizona. In the state of Arizona, we can have up to twenty- six children with two teachers, although, in an accredited preschool they can have up to twelve with two teachers
Most teachers and caregivers at a non-accredited preschool have lower expectations for their performance.
They are required to have first aid, CPR, food handler’s card, must be eighteen years of age or older, a high school diploma or equivalency, and a background check with a fingerprint clearance card. They are also required a minimum of eighteen training or workshop hours completed by the end of the year. A quality environment is well planned and invites children to learn and grow. Centers and family day care homes that had a “neat, clean, orderly physical setting, organized into activity areas and oriented to the child’s activity” were found to have good child development (Clarke-Stewart, 1987) This quote is meaningful and it sends a good message to people who want to learn more about child care centers or a non-accredited preschool. Teachers believe that children learn and grow in a facility where a teacher shows interest in the children.
The effectiveness of a teacher at a non-accredited preschool depends on the amount of experience working with children and how many training workshops she has been to. Having much experience working with children helps the teacher maintain health and safety codes suggested by the government. An accredited preschool has higher prices, half days for children and is more organized and structured. It is a part of NAEYC. The curriculum is based off of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. A curriculum also helps ensure that the teacher is planning a daily schedule that maximizes children’s learning through effective use of time, materials used for play, self-initiated learning, and creative expression as well as offers opportunities for children to learn individually and in groups according to their developmental needs and interests.(NAEYC,2008) Having these goals met for the children also allows an assessment for the teacher to improve on her strategies whereas; a child care center does not use assessments to improve her quality and effectiveness.
Children generally spend half of their day at this preschool and usually leave to go to a non-accredited preschool for afternoon daycare. Most accredited preschools end their day around 11:30 am to ensure that the child can experience school like tendencies. Families can then prepare their child for kindergarten. A teacher working at an accredited preschool must obtain a college degree in early childhood education. This means that the teacher must have an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education. If preschool teachers work at a day care center or private preschool, they do not need a college degree. A high school diploma is required. However, if the preschool is part of a public school system, the teacher will be required to have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education as well as a state license.
Some states recognize the requirements to earn the Child Care Program include a high school diploma, experience in the field, and continuing education courses. Some of the other states require preschool teachers to have some work experience in a childcare setting. Most preschools and daycares ask for a minimum of six months prior of early child care experience. Maintaining a college degree or some college courses helps the teacher’s quality of effectiveness. Teachers who go to college and earn a degree are more likely appropriate for the job whereas, a teacher with only a high school diploma just wants to pay the bills. Teachers who become accredited want to be working with children and see the growth and development in the well-being of a child.
Between an accredited preschool and a non-accredited preschool we can clearly see the differences noted. An accredited preschool has better options for children such as an organized curriculum based off of the child’s needs, a structured environment, and high quality teachers. A non-accredited preschool has better options for children who are not ready for school, a curriculum to meet the child’s minimum needs, and a less-structured environment.
Personally, the preschool that would the best choice for a parent is the accredited preschool because then the parent will not have to worry about their child falling behind in school. Their child will be ready for all challenges headed their way for school. The quality of the teachers and staff at an accredited preschool will be more effective than a non-accredited preschool teacher. They are trained to do their best at all times and always put the children first. This is why parents should choose an accredited preschool.
Visited on 11/2/12
Clarke-Stewart, K. In Phillips, D (Ed.). (1987). Quality in child care: What
does research tell us? Washington, DC: NAEYC
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