Verde Christian nets 5-star rating for preschool program
- Originally Published: January 30, 2019
COTTONWOOD – A few years back, Verde Christian Academy resolved itself to create what Ben Russel called a “better product for our kids.”
Thanks to First Things First’s Quality First program, the preschool program at Verde Christian Academy has become a five-star program.
Before the school’s winter break, a representative from Quality First visited the Cottonwood Christian school to evaluate the program’s effectiveness.
The result, a five-star rating, from the entity that “supports early education,” said Russel, Verde’s Christian’s lead administrator.
“They came to campus and looked at the interactions in the classroom, the environment of the play areas and the open areas, looked at our files,” Russel said. “They follow a rating scale to determine what level we’re at.”
Quality First measures criteria such as: Health and safety practices that promote children’s basic wellbeing; Staff qualifications, including experience working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as training or college coursework in early childhood development and education; Teacher-child interactions that are positive, consistent and nurture healthy development and learning; Learning environments, including age-appropriate books, toys and learning materials that promote emotional, social, language and cognitive development; Lessons that follow state requirements or recommendations for infants, toddlers and preschoolers; Group sizes that give young children the individual attention they need; and Child assessment and parent communication that keeps families regularly informed of their child’s development.
Also important, that the Quality First representatives watched as teachers interact with students, as they asked “open ended questions,” Russel said.
The five-star rating actually came after Verde Christian’s preschool became an accredited program, Russel said.
Moving forward, Russel said that Verde Christian should receive “more grant funding as a result of the rating.”
— Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42