The University of Denver’s (DU) Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Ricks Center for Gifted Children has received accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The accreditation comes from the largest nonprofit association in the United States representing early childhood education and reflects the highest professional standards for quality young children programs.

“Ricks Center for Gifted Children is committed to the accreditation process, which provides a framework for continuous improvement according to the highest standards of school performance.  NAEYC accreditation ensures top performance in our education of young children, including family support, teacher training, student safety, and community engagement.  Accredited by both NAEYC and AdvancEd, Ricks supports all of its students in realizing their full potential,” Anne Sweet, Ricks Center Director said.

Achieving NAEYC Accreditation is a four-step process that involves self-study, self-assessment, candidacy, and meeting and maintaining accreditation over a five-year period. Directors, teachers, and families all participate in the process. Programs are required to meet standards grouped into 10 areas: relationships with children, curriculum, teaching approaches, child assessment, nutrition and health, staff qualifications, relationship with children’s families, relationship with the community, physical environment, and program leadership and management.

“The Morgridge College of Education represents distinction in early childhood; from the Marsico Institute to the Fisher Early Learning Center to our Early Childhood Special Education programs, MCE serves as a leader,” said Dr. Karen Riley, Dean of Morgidge College of Education. “As such we want to ensure that we are meeting the highest standards for the children and families that we serve and that we are engaged in continual improvement.  NAEYC is the gold standard in this area and provides a framework to ensure exceptional quality and a means for thoughtful reflective practice.  This accreditation assures the families that we serve that we meet or exceed the highest of national standards and provides our graduate students with a model of excellence in the field.”

The Ricks Center for Gifted Children is operated by the Morgridge College of Education and is an extension of the College’s renowned work in the area of gifted education. In addition to providing a rigorous educational experience for gifted children from preschool to 8th grade, the model school also serves as an on-campus training and research facility for graduate students across the college including but not limited to school psychology, early childhood, curriculum and instruction and educational leadership.

The Fisher Early Learning Center a partner of the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) has received a renewal of their five-year accreditation with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) by the Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation. In order for a program to be accredited by NAEYC, it must meet all of the required criteria during evaluation, meet at least 80% of assessed criteria for each program standard, meet at least 70% of assessed criteria for each classroom or group observed, and continue to meet candidacy requirements after accreditation is conferred.

The Center, which opened its doors in 2000, has earned top marks for assessment on 9 of 10 programmatic areas and near-perfect scores for classroom observation assessment. Furthermore, Fisher met all candidacy requirements and achieved a grade of “PASS” on all required criteria. The NAEYC Academy commended Fisher for going above and beyond on a number of assessment points, including:

  • Promoting positive relations among children and adults and encouraging individual self-worth and belongingness
  • Implementation of a curriculum consistent in its goals and promotion of social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development
  • Using teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in a developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective manner
  • A sound system for ongoing formal and informal assessments to inform on child learning and development
  • Promoting nutrition and health, as well as prevention of injury and illness, among staff and children
  • Employment of a qualified, knowledgeable, and professional teaching staff able to support the diverse needs and interests of students and families
  • Recognizing the importance of relationships between families and schools
  • Effective establishment of relationships with agencies and institutions within the community that provide support for Fisher’s goals
  • Efficient and effective leadership and administration that is inclusive of staff, children, and families

The MCE extends its congratulations to Rebecca Tankersley, Director of the Fisher Early Learning Center, and to the staff at Fisher. MCE is proud to continue supporting their ongoing commitment to providing an inclusive and high-quality early learning experience.

Since 1985, NAEYC has offered a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs, and to help families identify high-quality programs. Today, NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education.  Over 6,500 child care programs, preschools, early learning centers, and other center- or school-based early childhood education programs are currently NAEYC-Accredited.  These programs provide high quality care and education to nearly one million young children in the United States, its territories, and programs affiliated with the United States Department of Defense.


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