Right now only one daycare center in Wichita Falls is nationally accredited. It's a daycare on Sheppard Air Force base and is not open to the public. Only a small handful of day cares have state accreditation.
The YMCA family center is one of a few child care centers currently working toward national accreditation. Newschannel 6 spoke with two local representatives who help child care centers get both national and state accredited.
While state and national accreditations have their differences, both programs see the importance of quality child care and are working to improve day cares in Wichita Falls.
"We have a lot of child care centers in Wichita Falls that are great child centers, they have quality," says Trish Dillmon. While the daycare centers may have quality Dillmon, the Director of Early Childhood Education at United Way, says being nationally accredited can make a daycare even better. "Through research, with all of that professional development and all of the hours that it does increase the quality of early childhood in the centers."
There are no nationally accredited daycare centers in Wichita Falls, but there are a few centers state accredited through the Texas Rising Star program. A local representative for the Texas Rising Star says national is much harder to obtain than state.
Dillmon agrees. "Actually, by the time they get to level three in Race for the Stars, they have already passed the Texas Rising Star."
Race for the Stars is a program set up by the United Way to help get local day cares in line to receive national accreditation. Dillmon says the five step program surpasses state accreditation, making it a more rigorous program. "It is a process," she says.
Another big difference between the state and national accreditation programs is cost. The state program costs nothing while the national accreditation can be costly.
"Around $10,000 just to say you were NAEYC certified," Dillmon says.
The high cost is one reason Dillmon says there are currently no day cares holding national accreditation in Wichita Falls, still she says the payoffs may be greater.
Dillmon says, "Parents would know that the teachers in that child care center have had professional development above and beyond."
Both state and national programs are optional to day cares in Wichita Falls. Sixteen centers already have state accreditation and five are currently working toward their national accreditation.