The Daily Express

Owens Child Care Center Earns Prestigious National Accreditation

  FINDLAY - Owens Community College has received a rare honor!

  The Child Care Center on the Owens Findlay Campus has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

  It currently is the only child care center in Findlay to be accredited - and this prestigious accreditation has been achieved by only 7 percent of early childhood programs nationwide, according to the NAEYC.

  "This accreditation demonstrates our commitment to providing high quality child care for the families of Hancock County and the surrounding areas," said Michelle Brown, Manager of the Child Care Centers on Owens Findlay and Toledo-area campuses.

  In the rigorous accreditation process, areas such as health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications and physical environment are given an in-depth examination by accreditation team members.

  The Owens Child Care Center completed an intensive self-study, collecting information from parents, teachers, administrators and classroom observations. They also were visited by early childhood professionals from NAEYC to verify results of the self-study. All of the information then was reviewed by a team of national experts who may grant or defer the accreditation. The accreditation will be valid for three years.

  "The heart of NAEYC accreditation focuses on the child's experience," said Barbara Willer, spokesperson for NAEYC. "The greatest emphasis is on the children's relationships with the staff. And how the program helps each child grow and learn intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally."

  Child care centers, preschools, kindergartens and before and after school programs are eligible to be considered for NAEYC accreditation. Nearly 12,000 programs currently are engaged in seeking accreditation.

  The Owens Child Care Center, located on Cory Street of the Owens campus, serves about 20 preschool children ages 3-5. It is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during Fall and Spring Semesters. Children of Owens students and employees, as well as the community are welcome, and the child care center still is accepting children for this fall.

  "We believe the early years are learning years and we promote this through our environment," Brown explained.

  The children enjoy lots of hands-on experiences, Brown said. "Children are concrete learners and our play-based curriculum offers them more opportunities to learn."

  It features a number of developmentally-appropriate learning centers, including creative art, storybooks, music and movement, blocks and construction, cooking, outdoor discovery, woodworking, computers and pre-writing.

  The staff includes three teachers, plus Terri Dunipace, Coordinator of the Findlay Campus Child Care Center.

  "The center is set up in a cozy atmosphere with a wonderful choice of things to play with," Dunipace said. "We have a huge storage room of toys and educational equipment, so we can change the environment quite often. The children never get bored and because there are so many things to do."

  The low ratio of students to staff also means that children get more attention, better preparing them for kindergarten and elementary school, she said.

  The Owens Child Care Center also serves as a lab school for the College. Owens students in Early Childhood Education Technology gain valuable experience working in the Child Care Center. Many child care center teachers and directors throughout the community began their instruction at the Owens Child Care Center.

  Dunipace said the accreditation is a benefit for the children, Owens students and the community in general.

  "This accreditation lets the community see what the guidelines are for high quality child care," she explained. "If parents are wondering what makes a good child care center, they are welcome to come in and look around to see what the Owens Child Care Center is all about."



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