Campus Child Care receives four stars

By Jennifer Irocky

Last semester, NIU Campus Child Care received a four-star accreditation from NAEYC’s Academy of Early Childhood Program.

This accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children makes the center one of only three childcare programs in Illinois with four stars.

Campus Childcare Director Chris Kipp said it took a lot of time and effort to achieve the accreditation.

“We’ve been working for the past year, trying to meet the criteria,” Kipp said.

The center received a grant from the state for up to $12,000 to help attain the requirements.

Both big and small changes were made. Small improvements, such as swapping out rocking chairs for chairs closed at the bottom for safety, helped the center achieve its goal.

The center also adopted a new assessment tool. The center had its own ways of assessing children, but in order to attain the fourth star, they needed an accredited system. This change put them over the top and was one of the main reasons they achieved the fourth star, Kipp said.

“The new assessment tool for children is standardized, reliable and valid,” Kipp said.

NAEYC consultant Pam Wicking helped the center improve classroom programs, program administration, safety and other enhancements.

“We helped them improve the quality of care offered,” Wicking said. “The staff and administration were very willing to make adjustments.”

Kristin Schulz, preschool teacher at the center and child development supervisor, was one of the teachers observed for assessment.

“It was very scary at first,” she said.

The teacher evaluation took three hours. Assesors looked at everything from the type of chairs to the pictures on the walls.

“I’m very proud of the rating,” Schulz said. “To be that high is awesome, and I’m so proud of how hard we worked.”

Each level of achievement attained provides more state funding for the center. These funds help provide childcare for low income families.