Open year round and providing educational programs for children ages 1 through 12, Ferris State University’s center received good news about its re-accreditation through the National Association of the Education of Young Children. Tot’s Place has been re-approved through Dec. 1, 2014 by NAEYC, the largest and most widely recognized accreditation system in the early childhood education field according to Lori Johnson, manager of the child development center.
“This accreditation demonstrates Ferris State University’s continued commitment to educational excellence by ensuring that our youngest citizens are provided with high-quality educational experiences which promote future learning opportunities,” Johnson said of Tot’s Place, which has services that are open to children of Ferris students, faculty and staff, as well as community members.
Programs that successfully complete the rigorous accreditation process through NAEYC are listed on the organization’s Web site. According to Johnson, 171 programs exist in Michigan, including 22 located within 50 miles of Big Rapids. She added that Tot’s Place was the first accredited program of its kind in Mecosta and Osceola counties.
All child care centers in Michigan are required to have state licensure from the Department of Human Services, Office of Children and Adult Licensing. However, as Johnson explains, NAEYC standards go beyond the state’s minimum requirements and emphasize best practices, which promote quality learning experiences for children. Such accreditation is voluntary and is a product of the commitment of administration, staff and families, Johnson said. NAEYC examines all program aspects focusing closely on interactions between teachers and children. Also, qualifications of teachers, reciprocal family relationships, curriculum, health and safety also are considered.
In addition to providing child care, including a full day school-age camp during the summer, Tot’s Place is the setting for a real-world education experience for Ferris students.
“Tot’s Place serves as an academic lab site to provide hands-on educational training for students in the College of Education and Human Services,” said Johnson of work schedules that amount to 5,000 to 6,000 hours annually for students.
Tot’s Place, located in Bishop Hall on the Ferris campus, was the first center in a 60-mile radius of Big Rapids to earn this accreditation in 2004 and now is the first of its kind to have achieved re-accreditation under the new and tougher criteria, Johnson added.
For more information about Tot’s Place Child Development Center, visit www.ferris.edu/totsplace or call (231) 591-2390.