Fort Valley State University's Head Start earns national accreditation

by Jeff Brothers

Posted on Jun 01, 2011

Head Start students enjoying coloring
Head Start students enjoying coloring

Fort Valley, GA. - For early childhood experts, receiving the seal of approval from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a big deal. Recently, Fort Valley State University’s Head Start program earned the distinction.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Evelyn Byrd, program director of Fort Valley State University Head Start. NAEYC is the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.  “Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.”

Head Start’s goal is to develop the cognitive, intellectual and physical skills of young children and provide for their mental and nutritional needs.

To earn NAEYC Accreditation, FVSU’s program faced an extensive self-study process that measured its services against ten NAEYC early childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. An on-site visit by a team from the organization was made to ensure that the program met each standard. Unannounced visits are also part of the process, which lasts five years.

“The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Dr. Jerlean E. Daniel, executive director of NAEYC. “Having earned NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that Fort Valley State University Head Start is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.”

More than 7,000 programs are accredited by NAEYC—approximately eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.  

FVSU’s Head Start program serves Butler, Cordele, Marshallville, Unadilla and Vienna. For information about the program, please call (478) 825-6171. For more information about NAEYC Accreditation, visit

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