The Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the first early childhood programs in the nation to earn 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 Hallie Speranza, interim director of the facility. "NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible."
The Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory is a research facility and program for young children designed for the collection of systematic, naturalistic observational data on young children in the least intrusive environment possible.
The laboratory's faculty study how children change over time and develop strategies for support of children as they mature. Faculty teach students the processes of human development and the adult's role in supporting maturation through curriculum planning, arrangement of the environment, guidance strategies and intervention.
The laboratory enrolls 104 children, ages 18 months to 5 years, each academic year from the community at large. The laboratory was founded in 1926 as one of the first child development institutes in the United States. It is housed within the Division of Human Development and Family Sciences in the Department of Human Ecology.
To earn NAEYC accreditation in the new system, the laboratory went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 new 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 NAEYC program standards. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.
In the 20 years since NAEYC accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 11,000 programs, serving one million young children, are accredited by NAEYC - about 8 percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.
"The new NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs," said Dr. Mark Ginsberg, executive director of NAEYC. "The Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory's NAEYC accreditation is a sign that they are a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education, and to help give all children a better start."