One of the things that has kept me so busy this year is our impending NECPA accreditation. NECPA stands for "National Early Childhood Program Accreditation". NECPA is nationally recognized, with quality standards comparable to NAEYC's , going way above and beyond state child care regulations. The NECPA observational verification visit will assess (among many other things): teacher/child interactions, health and safety practices, school administration, best teaching practices, student progress, the physical learning environment, and our family/school interactions and relationships. (Not much really, just everything!)
We have worked very hard for the last couple of years to make sure that every classroom in all three of our schools are accreditation ready. At this point in our process, I hear in my head "NECPA, NECPA, NECPA" in the same sing-song voice that Jan Brady used to say "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" on the Brady Bunch.
Overall, the accreditation is a good thing. In the end, we will have the very best child care centers in our town--and the documentation to prove it. But logistically, this process has been a pain. In Georgia Pre-K, the amount of paperwork that we have to keep is simply overwhelming. Now, we have a 3-inch ring binder of the NECPA required forms we fill out daily.
We've had to make some changes. I've had a small woodworking center in my class for years, but we've used play tools and golf tees as hardware. Teacher Tom writes frequently about his use of real tools and implements on his blog. I've often commented that while I admire his bravery, I'm simply not ready for that yet. We are using real screwdrivers, levels, tape measures nuts, bolt and wrenches. That's about all I can handle for the time being.
I even got my husband to come up to the school to help me. I still hadn't hung my beloved Jan Brett alphabet since I'd moved into my new room. He was so sweet to come and help me. (Truth be told, he probably came just to see me, as I've spent a lot of evenings there lately!)
I've got my barn still set up in dramatic play...
We're adding to Our Little Pre-K Community and still have our doctor's office, construction zone, and outdoor cafe. We also have theme boxes for the children to explore a variety of other things, as well. This week, our theme boxes include: community helpers, pizza place, beauty salon, and an additional medical box for the children to use in this center.
We still have our kitchen/living area for home living play.
I set up a little fruit stand in dramatic play, as well.
Tomorrow's the day! The final visit..I think we're ready. I know we have the best centers in town--no question. Now, it's time for us to show it off. Then, we wait. It takes a few months before we'll know if we made it.
Fingers crossed. X