In Oakland University’s 50th year of child care services, the Lowry Center for Early Childhood Education earned accreditation from the National Association for Education of Young Children for performance based on portfolios as well as surveys from faculty, students and parents.
Located on the first floor of Pawley Hall, the on-campus lab school provides a learning forum with the help of student workers and grad students in addition to full-time teachers.
“NAEYC is a great thing to strive for,” Faculty Director Julie Ricks-Doneen said. “We’re very happy about it. It’s assuring and tells parents that the center puts in the extra effort.”
Based on a variety of factors, gaining accreditation is a sign a school meets high standards for quality early education. “Helping parents make the right choices and improving the quality of education and care provided in programs for young children since the early 1980s,” according to the NAEYC website.
Accreditation criteria includes a safe environment for students, acceptance and inclusion of community and family perspectives and attention to the children.
“The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Dr. Jerlean Daniel, executive director of NAEYC, in a press release on OU’s website. “Having earned NAEYC accreditation is a sign that the Lowry Center is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.”
Ricks-Doneen and the staff worked over a series of days to prepare and submit the documents, according to preschool teacher Josh Yax.
After teaching education at Macomb Community Community College, he said he knows Lowry fulfills the best practices for an early learning center.
“I didn’t have any worry about Lowry receiving the accreditation,” Yax said. “Everyone here takes this job seriously. I’m proud of the faculty’s interactions with the students and one another.”
Students from many OU programs play a crucial role in the Lowry Center, according to Ricks-Doneen. They get involved on all levels, from assistance with teaching, to planning, research projects and entertainment.
Brandy Ellison, senior and human resource development major, is one of the teacher assistants on staff. Working at Lowry for three years, Ellison helps in the classroom. She was excited to find out the school earned the national accreditation it applied for last semester.
“I would recommend Lowry to anyone,” Ellison said. “It’s easy to see how much the teachers care. It’s so exciting to see the kids transition through the different classes and how much they mature. Kids grow a lot here.”