School for Friends Earns National Recognition from NAEYC

Press Release – May 17, 2010

School for Friends has been identified as an Engaging Diverse Families exemplary program by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. School for Friends is one of only ten programs nationwide to receive this honor.

The goal of the Engaging Diverse Families project is to learn how excellent early childhood education programs are effectively engaging diverse families and to share what is learned with other programs struggling to start and sustain family engagement practices. Family engagement occurs when there is an ongoing, reciprocal, strengths-based partnership between families and their children’s early childhood education programs. NAEYC looked for evidence of shared decision-making related to their children’s education; consistent, two-way communication; integration of families’ lives and communities into all aspects of the program; and program policies and professional development that support effective family engagement, such as ongoing training in communication skills and cultural competence.

“We’re thrilled to have earned this designation from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to supporting and engaging diverse families,” said James Clay, Director, School for Friends. “This exemplary status reaffirms to families in our community that we are committed to fully engaging them in their children’s learning experiences, which is so critical in the early years.” School for Friends is a preschool that provides a loving, caring, and supportive educational environment for children. We are committed to creating a diverse community of children and families. The curriculum reflects the Quaker values of cooperation, equality, and nonviolence.

School for Friends will be recognized at next month at the 19th National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in Phoenix, Arizona.

To be recognized as exemplary, School for Friends participated in an extensive process examining our research-based family engagement practices. School for Friends submitted a written application and program materials, participated in a phone interview, provided parent and family testimony, and received an on-site visit by NAEYC staff to provide a body of evidence showing that we are effectively reaching out to and including the diverse families we serve.

A growing body of research suggests that meaningful engagement of families in their children’s early learning supports school readiness and later academic success. For many families, engagement in early learning is linked to their children’s participation in early childhood education programs.

School for Friends is also NAEYC-accredited. In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. The Engaging Diverse Families exemplary programs have shown evidence that School for Friends leads the early childhood education field in family engagement.

School for Friends is a Washington, DC preschool for children ages two to five. For nearly 25 years, our developmental program has focused on helping children solve problems together, resolve conflicts, think independently and make choices. The school encourages all aspects of a child’s development – social, emotional, physical, and cognitive – in a setting that is safe, warm, and cheerful. The teachers help the children develop positive self-concepts and understand others from different cultural and economic backgrounds. The program is committed to the inclusion of children with special needs.