UH Maui College student getting hands-on experience in early childhood education.

The associate degree program in early childhood education at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College was recently accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a first for the state of Hawaiʻi. Nationwide, 10 institutions were granted accreditation this year, bringing the total number of accredited programs to 180.

“We are proud to be the first in Hawaiʻi to achieve NAEYC accreditation for the associate degree,” said Elaine Yamashita, professor and early childhood program coordinator at UH Maui College in a press release disseminated by NAEYC. “The process of improvement that we continue to engage in and validate by accreditation assures our students, college and community in our tri-island county that we value and support student learning and engagement, and keep current on best practices for young children and their families.”

Raising the quality of teacher education

The early childhood associate degree accreditation system raises the quality of teacher education by establishing professional preparation standards, which in turn raise the quality of early learning programs serving young children. Programs must demonstrate that they respond to the unique needs of their stakeholders, provide the intentional learning experiences, knowledge and skills for their students to be effective early childhood educators and continuously assess and reflect on their students’ performance.

“The accreditation is a testament to the effort and dedication of our early childhood education faculty and staff,” said UH Maui College Chancellor Lui K. Hokoana. “We also deeply appreciate the contribution of community members who serve on the program’s advisory committee. Together we are launching bright futures for our students and the young children they will teach.”