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West Hartford’s First Church Academy for Young Children Earns National Accreditation

Finger painting at First Church Academy for Young Children. photo by Amy Melvin

First Church Academy for Young Children in West Hartford earned national accreditation from NAEYC, making the program one of the top in the nation.

Finger painting at First Church Academy for Young Children. photo by Amy Melvin

Finger painting at First Church Academy for Young Children. photo by Amy Melvin


First Church Academy for Young Children located at 12 South Main St. in West Hartford, Connecticut has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Educational Director Ruthie Johnson. “NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our high-quality program have teachers who create engaging classrooms, enhance relationships with their parents and families, and develop rich experiences for their students.”

First Church Academy for Young Children provides a consistent and nurturing environment encouraging the growth of the whole child. We strive to create a community where children, staff and families value the love of learning and the quest to become life-long learners collaboratively by instituting a caring and learning community.

Following Creative Curriculum and GOLD Assessment which are closely aligned to the CT ELDS (Early Learning and Development Standards), the Academy works with children six weeks to age 5. We offer full day (7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) or short day (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday; Monday, Wednesday, Friday; or Tuesday and Thursday. We also offer a morning program (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) to our PreK 3’s and 4’s. A Pre-K 5’s class runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with add on hours available. Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math provide the foundation upon which lesson plans are built. Our large garden, inviting playground, music classes, dance and yoga classes, Spanish and cultural diversity define us.

First Church Academy, in the heart of the West Hartford Center, is non-sectarian and welcomes all families regardless of disabling condition, gender, nationality, race or sexual orientation. We do not teach religious doctrine but have a strong collaboration with First Church of Christ, West Hartford.

To earn NAEYC Accreditation, First Church Academy for Young Children went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. The program received NAEYC Accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC Assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the ten program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.

In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. Nearly 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC – approximately 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.

“It’s a lengthy and rigorous process to achieve NAEYC Accreditation, and First Church Academy for Young Children should be commended for seeking high standards,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of NAEYC. “Caring for children is not ‘rocket science’ – it’s brain science. Studies prove that the brain connections made in the first few years of life set a child’s path for success in school and in life. That’s why quality educators are so crucial. For parents and caregivers of young children who are searching for a high-quality early learning experience, First Church Academy for Young Children’s NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that it offers a high-quality education in a nurturing and stimulating environment.”

The NAEYC Accreditation system has set voluntary professional standards for programs for young children since 1985. In September 2006, the Association revised program standards and criteria to introduce a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children in child care programs. The new standards today reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development. NAEYC is committed to using the newest studies and analysis on positive child outcomes to ensure young children continue receiving the highest-quality care and education possible.

The NAEYC Accreditation system was created to set professional standards for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality preschools, child care centers, and other early education programs. To earn NAEYC Accreditation, a program must meet each of the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards. Programs are accredited by NAEYC for a five-year period.

For more information about NAEYC Accreditation, visit www.naeyc.org/academy.

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