Celebration Planned for Latest Achievements of Baylor's Piper Center and Child and Family Studies Program

Oct. 14, 2011

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Baylor University's Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development, recently accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, will mark the accomplishment with a celebration from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the center, 315 Washington Ave.

The free event also is a celebration for Baylor's Child and Family Studies Program, which has been named a recognized Certified Family Life Educator program by the National Council on Family Relations.

Both the center and the program are part of the department of family and consumer sciences in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences.

Piper's accreditation is noteworthy in that only about 7 percent of early childhood programs nationwide have received accreditation by NAEYC, the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.

"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 Barbara Crosby, director of Baylor University Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development. "NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.

"We are a lab school for the department of family and consumer sciences at Baylor," she said. "We are modeling and teaching university students best practices in early childhood education. It is imperative that we are doing what is best for children since we model for the students."

To earn NAEYC accreditation, Piper went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. The program received accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.

The center serves 65 children and has 20 staffers, with 16 work-study students each semester.

The Oct. 20 event also is a celebration of the recognition of the Child and Family Studies program as a Certified Family Life Educator Program by the National Council on Family Relations. That is significant because it allows program majors "an additional opportunity to be well-prepared and competitive when entering the workforce," said Janet R. Crow, Ph.D., an assistant professor in family and consumer sciences, who coordinated the process for approval.

Family life education focuses on healthy family functioning, primarily with a preventive approach. It aids families by fostering communication skills, knowledge of typical human development, decision-making skills, positive self-esteem and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Family life education professionals consider societal issues such as economics, education, work-family issues, parenting, sexuality and gender within the context of the family, according to the National Council on Family Relations site. They believe that societal problems such as substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, debt and child abuse can be more effectively addressed from a perspective that considers the individual and family as part of larger systems. Family life education provides this in a classroom setting or through educational materials.

Certified Family Life Educators work in diverse settings, among them health care, community education, faith communities, junior and senior high schools, universities, social service agencies, corrections institutes, retirement communities and the military.

For more information about Piper, call (254) 710-4373. For more about the Certified Family Life Educator program, call (254) 710-3626.

Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

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