The Associate of Applied Science degree within Southeast
Community College's Early Childhood Education program has been granted
accreditation by the National Association for the Education of
Young Children's Commission.
SCC's program is among just 10 percent of those eligible in the
U.S. that have earned Early Childhood Associate Degree
Accreditation from the NAEYC. To earn accreditation, programs
participate in a self-study process, collect and submit data and
reports, and undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. The
entire process typically takes two years to complete.
Julie Miller, program chair, said accreditation is huge in what
it means to students.
"Students can be assured they are working with a quality program
and that the education they are going to receive here will be
closely linked to standards of NAEYC," Miller said. "We follow
those standards in every course."
Miller said numerous people played a role in the accreditation
process, including some from outside the College.
"Aside from our faculty, it was two former program chairs who
worked on it," Miller said. "I'm just reaping the rewards of
getting acknowledgement that we received accreditation. We also had
help from people within the early childhood community, our advisory
committee, directors of child care facilities throughout our city,
SCC administrators, and our students. This is a huge honor for our
community, as well as our program and college."
Only one other community college Early Childhood Education
program in the state is accredited, Miller said.
SCC's program is offered face to face on the Lincoln Campus, as
well as online. Each of the 31 students who graduated from SCC's
program during 2011-2012 found work or continued their education.
Graduates become assistant directors, assistant teachers,
co-teachers, head teachers, infant-toddler caregivers, nannies,
paraeducators, preschool teachers, and teachers.
The accreditation system establishes professional preparation
standards to raise the quality of early childhood teacher
education, and in turn raises the quality of early education
programs serving young children.
SCC's Early Childhood Education program began more than 30 years
ago at a facility at 31st and C streets in Lincoln.
A child care center operates on the Lincoln Campus, providing
program students hands-on experience.
"We congratulate these programs on their achievement," said
Alison Lutton, senior director at NAEYC. "The NAEYC accreditation
system sets a standard of excellence for early childhood associate
degree programs to meet, and this program has demonstrated that it
meets this standard. We applaud the efforts and appreciate the
commitment to program improvement and teacher quality, which is a
crucial component to providing high-quality early childhood
NAEYC is the professional organization that sets national
standards for programs that prepare early childhood teachers of
children from birth through age 8. The Professional Preparation
Standards are: promoting child development and learning; building
family and community relationships; observing, documenting and
assessing; using developmentally effective approaches; using
content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum; and becoming a
Higher education programs at the associate, baccalaureate and
graduate levels provide the foundation for qualified early
childhood educators, administrators, college instructors,
researchers, and policy makers. Strong programs produce graduates
who are well-prepared to work with young children in high-quality
infant, toddler and preschool programs, as well as in kindergarten
through third grade.
Accreditation provides a framework for self-study, external
evaluation and improvement in the quality of teacher preparation
programs. Accredited programs align learning experiences and
assessments with national standards and use student performance
data to improve teaching and learning.
NAEYC is a constituent member of the National Association for
Teacher Education. In the first six years of operation, 172
programs in 29 states earned accreditation from the Commission on
Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. More than 100
additional programs are currently in self-study in 34 states.