For 23 years, the KinderCare center in Roselle, Ill., has been committed to providing the highest quality early childhood education experience for the families they serve. Since 1993, the center has maintained their accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children without any lapse.
“We hold a higher standard for everything we do,” said Jackie Mims, center director. “We have a higher standard for education and communication and that sets us apart.”
Mims, the center director for the past 30 years, is proud, but not surprised, that her center maintained accreditation all this time.
“It was scary at first but I knew it was stuff that we were already doing,” she said. “Accreditation took the center to where I knew it needed to be—we’re a cut above.”
In preparation for their first stab at accreditation in 1993, Mims made sure her staff was on board. She says it was hard at times for staff to give and receive constructive criticism, but that working together as a team was paramount to their success.
“The hardest part was having teachers think that they were criticizing each other,” she said. “But it’s not criticism really, it’s just acknowledging how you can do better. Through it all, we had each other’s’ backs.”
The Roselle center’s teamwork and dedication to a higher standard has kept them accredited through the years.
“When new staff are timid or overthinking it when we’re going through the renewal, we say it’s not just for the day of the visit,” said Mims. “This is our life, it’s our career. We need to do these things all the time to be better for the children.”
Given her passion for and commitment to accreditation, Mims is excited that KinderCare is committed to 100 percent accreditation.
“We’re a very strong ECE company, and we should be acknowledged by everyone as the highest standard in the industry,” she said. “It’s not just that we’re licensed, or have the great curriculum; it’s applying a national standard to us that says ‘if your child is at KinderCare, they’re getting the best experience.’”
For center directors new to the accreditation process, Mims said there’s nothing to fear.
“Look at the materials and see what you’re already doing in your center,” she said. “You’re already doing so much every day. Just dive in and know you’re going to make it.”