The Edgerley Family Community Children’s Center—a high quality early care and education program for young homeless children—has recently earned accreditation from NAEYC, a distinction which only 15% of preschools receive. The Edgerley Family CCC is the third of Horizons for Homeless Children’s three CCCs (others based in Dorchester and Jamaica Plain respectively)
The distinction required months of intensive documentation and paperwork on the part of the Roxbury CCC staff, as well as a rigorous inspection by NAEYC officials. The CCC met all required criteria and received commendations (a score of 100%) on 8 of the 10 standards, including Relationships, Teaching, Families and Community relationships.
NAEYC’s thorough accreditation process was established in 1985 as a way of benchmarking early childhood education providers across the US, to ensure that children enrolled in these programs receive the early stimulation that is vital to future academic successes later in school. Since then, 7,000 preschools in the country have received NAEYC accreditation.
Research has increasingly shown that quality education for young children, those ages 0-5, is of the upmost importance in promoting healthy brain development. This early education is even more important for children in situations of homelessness or extreme poverty, circumstances which can disrupt normal brain development.
“Studies have shown that when young children are trying to deal with an unstable home life or adjusting to new or unpleasant surroundings, they experience ‘toxic’ stress levels which can inhibit their brain’s ability to develop as it should,” said Andrea Urbano, HHC’s Director of Center Based Programs. “To grow and develop on par with their housed peers, children in homeless situations need consistent, positive influences and an environment where they feel safe and encouraged. We provide that here at Horizons for Homeless Children, and we see amazing results every day.”
Urbano said that the NAEYC distinction is encouraging proof that HHC is providing the high caliber of early childhood education that children in struggling families might not otherwise receive.
“For our children, it really goes beyond purely academic education. We provide social and emotional support as well. Our teachers are examples of patience and stability for children who may not always receive that kind of example. The NAEYC accreditation confirms that we’re reaching the goal we’ve been striving for, which is giving children experiencing homelessness a chance to break the cycle by teaching them the skills they’ll need for academic and social success later in life.”
About Horizons for Homeless Children
Founded in 1988 as an independent, non-profit organization, Horizons for Homeless Children is dedicated to serving homeless children and their families. Headquartered in Roxbury, MA, Horizons for Homeless Children has created over 140 Playspaces (educational and recreational spaces) in family shelters throughout Massachusetts. Since inception the agency has recruited and trained over 14,000 community members to become volunteer Playspace Activity Leaders, working with the children living in family shelters. Horizons for Homeless Children’s three Community Children's Centers (CCC’s) provide childcare and early education for 175 homeless children and parent support services for their families. The agency provides leadership in advocating for homeless children and their families through leveraging and sharing expertise with others and advocating with policy makers and the public. For more information on Horizons for Homeless Children, please visit www.horizonsforhomelesschildren.org.
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We help children learn how to play, share and enjoy exploring their worlds. We help parents learn how to be nurturing and involved in the growth and development of their children, and help them learn and grow through job training, GED and college courses.