Once again, ARCHS has demonstrated its early childhood expertise by assisting Kids World North childcare center to achieve National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation.

ARCHS has helped more than 20 area childcare centers achieve accreditation - an important recognition by state and national accreditation boards to establish and maintain high-quality learning and nurturing environments for children birth to age eight.

"Accreditation means quality care and education to the families that we serve. The surrounding school district has lost their accreditation, so parents like that fact that at least they have the opportunity to place their child in an early care facility that has its accreditation," said owner Felicia Cook. "Many of the parents like knowing that they are sending their children to a center where the teachers have education, a set curriculum and teaching has a purpose. We also give parents access to high quality childcare in a low income area."

Additionally, over the past four years, ARCHS has helped 21% (26 centers) of all currently accredited programs in St. Louis City/County and St. Charles County to achieve accreditation status .

"At the beginning of the accreditation process the financial support from ARCHS was a blessing.  It allowed us to purchase and obtain new furniture, rotational materials and more developmentally appropriate books, science, and overall curriculum," Cook said. "The technical support received during the three years preparing us for accreditation gave us the knowledge and understanding of what to expect and how to prepare for accreditation."

Through ARCHS' Accreditation Program, childcare center grantees received on-site training and technical assistance, professional development support, and funds to support quality improvement efforts.

"Accreditation has given our teachers a boost of confidence and a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Going through the accreditation process gave us and our teachers an opportunity to evaluate our program," Cook said. "It allowed us to see our strengths and weaknesses. I expect that accreditation will continue to be a checks and balances for our program.  It will be a tool for us to continue to improve."

Due to last year's state budget cuts, ARCHS' Accreditation and Start Up and Expansion Programs are currently suspended and are not providing expertise to more than 80 childcare programs.

ARCHS' Educare and Parent Education Programs continue to provide services to area childcare professionals, children, and families.