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NEWS | June 28, 2019

JBSA-Lackland child development centers receive re-accreditation

By Mary Nell Sanchez 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, recently awarded the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland child development centers a five-year re-accreditation for their efforts in assuring adolescents reach the required milestones.

Representatives from the NAEYC visited the three facilities to observe how educators help each child evolve during the first five years of their life.

The CDCs support Department of Defense employees’ children, ages six weeks to five years old. When a child is still an infant, markers in cognitive areas and movement are observed closely to ensure they stay on track in reaching those goals. Language, communication, social and emotional milestones become more significant to their development as they get older because those markers influence how successful their transition into more structured education is.

“We would not expect a six week old child to understand or respond the same way as a five year old, so as we identify and connect with this child, we help them to move up to the next level,” said Sherrie Walker, 502nd Air Base Wing child development center director.

The NAEYC requires 10 standards which include forming positive relationships between staff and families, teacher curriculum, child progression and identifying individual challenges with each child. The NAEYC’s accreditation is in line with the Air Force and Department of Defense guidelines.

“The accreditation covers a whole area of quality care, from the care and support of the staff to the support of the children and their families,” Walker said.

Because many of the children who attend the CDC have parents serving in the military, there’s always change. That’s why educators must make sure the curriculum is laser-focused on each child’s needs.

The evaluation of each child’s progress can vary as each adolescent makes their own journey through important milestones.

“They are so transient and a different variety of things are happening in their lives,” Walker said. “We have to support the parent, whether the parent is deployed, is here or is a single parent.”

Many situations present themselves in the development of a child during the first five years, said Vina Stroud, 502nd ABW CDC training and curriculum specialist, so the curriculum is aimed at providing individualized care for each  student.

“A lot of parents expect their children to do phenomenal things at a year old,” said Lucia Sadler, 502nd ABW CDC training and curriculum specialist. “They’re not all the same and they develop differently.”

Sadler wants to make sure every person at the CDC is recognized for their role in the re-accreditation honor.

“We work really hard here and we all come together to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Sadler said.

The CDCs continuously maintain NAEYC standards so the quality of care is always the best and children are continuing to get the best support possible, Walker added.