TFS NAEYC Accreditation

Dedication Rewarded: The Friendship School Earns Elite NAEYC Accreditation
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Years of hard work, careful documentation, cooperation, and excellence has paid off for The Friendship School (TFS), which received elite accreditation for its school.

Last week, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) granted accreditation to TFS. NAEYC Accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality-improvement in high-quality early learning environments.

We are thrilled to have achieved NAEYC accreditation.  This accreditation shows the community that we implement best practice in early childhood education and that we have committed to continuous improvement. I am so proud of the staff of The Friendship School. 

NAEYC accreditation has been a goal for TFS for several years. The school went through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit by an NAEYC assessor to verify and ensure that the program met each of the ten program standards, and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. NAEYC-accredited programs are always prepared for unannounced quality-assurance visits during their accreditation term, which lasts for five years.

“Families can now be assured that The Friendship School provides children with the gold standard of early childhood education,” said teacher Kevin Stevenson, who has been at TFS since it opened 13 years ago. He has seem the school evolve from a collaborative between New London and Waterford into a regional magnet school that enrolls 520 students from throughout the state.

The NAEYC has evaluators approach visits with children in mind. They are asked to see how a child might feel at the school, taking in factors like the accessibility and diversity of toys and materials and the friendliness of the teachers and educators.

Teacher Diane Felty played a major role in preparing her colleagues for the evaluation and hosted the NAEYC representative in the classroom. She said the accreditation validated the hard work and dedication of the school’s educators and shows the care and reflection that went into the process.

“We took the suggestions given to adjust our practices and make sure we do the most we can for students, families, and staff,” Felty said.

Teacher Ruth Toledo sees the value of NAEYC accreditation from two important perspectives: a parent and an educator. Her son is a student at the school and Toledo takes comfort in knowing that her child is attending a program that meets tough standards while being friendly and inviting.

“It makes me feel good to know that any child would love to come to The Friendship School and would have a great experience here,” Toledo said.

Teacher Deborah Ossen also hosted the evaluator in her classroom. While she had no advance warning that her classroom would be picked, she felt well prepared given the work that the entire school had done and the daily learning that takes place.

“This is a special and unique place,” Ossen said. “We did a lot of prep, and not one person could have done it alone. Everyone had to be invested in the outcome.”

In the 30 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. Less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition. 

“NAEYC-Accredited programs bring our definitions of excellence for early childhood education to life each day,” said Kristen Johnson, senior director of Early Learning Program Accreditation at NAEYC. “Earning NAEYC Accreditation makes The Friendship School an exemplar of good practice for families and the entire community.”

For more information about NAEYC Accreditation, visit the NAEYC website.

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