By Yanet Obarrio Sanchez….
The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, a national state-ofthe- art best practices teaching and learning center dedicated to elevating the quality of early childhood education in Miami-Dade and beyond, has received the prestigious Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE) accreditation.
APPLE is a voluntary national early learning program accreditation awarded by the Florida Association for Child Care Management (FACCM).
At the same time, the center, through a grant from the Early Learning Coalition, helped 15 other early learning centers prepare and apply for APPLE accreditation. After five months of preparations, all the centers applied and are well on their way to becoming accredited.
“I am proud that all 16 centers have taken the initiative to surpass the standards set by local and state licensing bodies, and embrace higher standards of quality in early care and education,” said Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami- Dade. “These early learning centers are truly making a difference in the lives of South Florida’s children.”
An early learning center must be in service one year and one day to be eligible to apply for (APPLE) accreditation. During the process, a self study is followed by a verification visit, which is an evaluation of all components of a program, including: administration, classroom environment, parent and community involvement, advocacy on behalf of children and child care, staffing credentials, staff/child ratios, teacher/child interaction, literacy and curriculum.
After a thorough verification visit, the center was awarded the APPLE accreditation, and is now a Gold Seal Quality Care Program.
Next, the center is embarking on an even more rigorous and ambitious endeavor — the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. Only about 8 percent of preschools and early childcare centers across the U.S. are NAEYC accredited. This process should take 18 months, but once again, United Way is looking for ways to enhance the quality of early care and education in the community and beyond, and is seeking grants that would help 10 very worthy centers begin the NAEYC accreditation process.
For more information, visit online at www.unitedwaycfe.org.