Miami University Campus Kids Receives National Accreditation

Campus Kids laying in the grass in a circleWhen the tiny students of the Hamilton "Miami University Campus Kids" return this fall, they will be coming to a nationally-accredited and state-rated Four-Star facility.

Campus Kids is the licensed daycare and preschool that has occupied the south end of Schwarm Hall since it was built in 1997.

"Before that, there was a parent co-op on the first floor of Rentschler Hall," said Traci Anderson, program director. "The parents would help and the students would help, but due to a state policy change for group care we relocated."

For the past two years, Anderson has led Campus Kids through a self-study with the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.

"Everything we do was considered," she said, "our curriculum, our parent letters, our activities we do with the children, how we assess the children, how we do observations."

A box of paperwork in her office topped with a thick three-ring binder containing the manual testified to the rigors of the accreditation.

"It's a lot of work because it's already things we were doing, but we had to document it all," she said. "Sometimes, you're wondering how you're going to prove it. It was just a lot of paperwork because our focus is really on the children and being with them every day, so doing all the paperwork is very time consuming."

After the intensive two-year self-study, an observer visited the classrooms in May to further substantiate that the program met the requirements.

"By achieving accreditation Miami University-Campus Kids provides a high quality program for children, professional development opportunities for staff, and an environment for children that is conducive to their individual growth and development that exceeds state licensing requirements," said a letter of acknowledgement from the Association for Early Learning Leaders.

Earlier this year, Campus Kids received a Four-Star Step Up to Quality Award from the state of Ohio.

The upgraded rating was based on a number of criteria:

Having lower staff to child ratios. The state requires a 1:7 ratio; Campus Kids has a 1:4 ratio.

Using child assessment results to plan activities that best support learning and development goals for each child.

Working with other organizations or businesses within the community to support children and their families.

Having an active and organized parent volunteer group.

Using input from families and community partners to inform continuous improvement process.

Having accreditation by an approved organization.

Campus Kids serves between 30 and 35 toddlers and preschoolers, Anderson said. About half of them are children of Hamilton Campus students, and there is financial assistance available. The other half are children of faculty and staff. The center does not accept children from the community at large.

"There's a degreed teacher in each classroom, and both of them are Miami University graduates who started working there when they were student workers," Anderson said.

For more information on the Step Up to Quality program, visit www.earlychildhoodohio.org on the Internet. For more information on the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs visit www.earlylearningleaders.org. To learn more about Campus Kids, visit miamioh.edu/regionals/student-life/childcare/campus-kids.

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