October 04, 2011

Rainbow’s End earns NAEYC accreditation

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Rainbow’s End Child Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the country’s leading organization for early childhood professionals.

To earn the accreditation, a program must meet a minimum of 80 percent of all of the criteria in each of 10 NAEYC standards.  Rainbow’s End not only achieved that goal, but also went above and beyond, according to Darlene Waier, director of Rainbow’s End.

“By meeting emerging criteria -- criteria which is not yet required -- the Center achieved a 100 percent-plus rating in four standards.  In addition, the center earned a 100 percent rating in three additional standards,” Waier said.

“We are extremely proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” Waier added, noting that earning the accreditation, which extends through 2016, has been a significant goal since she became director in April 2009.

The University’s program earned 100 percent-plus ranks in health, families, community relationships and leadership and management, along with 100 percent ratings for relationships, assessment and physical environment.   The center earned a 96 percent for teaching and also well exceeded the 80 percent minimum accreditation standard for curriculum and teachers. 

Rainbow’s End, located at 650 S. State St. in Carbondale, provides childcare for the children of University students, staff and faculty.  The Illinois Department of Children and Services licenses the center to provide care for up to 133 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.  There are currently 47 children in the infant/toddler program, 34 in the preschool program for ages 3-5 years and 20 in the school age program for those 5-12 years of age. 

The scores represent substantial increases from those earned in 2008’s accreditation visit and Waier notes that NAECY revised its standards and criteria in 2006, making it even more difficult to earn accreditation.  In earning the NAEYC accreditation, Rainbow’s End went through an extensive self-study process, measuring its program and services against the 10 NAEYC early childhood program standards along with more than 400 related accreditation criteria.  There was also an on-site visit by an NAEYC assessor.  The standards are so stringent that only eight percent of all early childhood programs earn this accreditation.

“The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs.  Having earned NAEYC accreditation is a sign that Rainbow’s End is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education,” said Jerlean E. Daniel, executive director of NAEYC. 

For more information about Rainbow’s End Child Development Center, visit the website at www.rainbowsend.siu.edu, call 618/453-6358 or email rainbow1@siu.edu