ECU’s Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center recognized among top in the nation, earns national reaccreditation

The Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center at East Carolina University has earned reaccreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from the NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Melissa Nolan, director of the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center.

The center is an early childhood model training facility for the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance at ECU.

The accreditation is good through April 1, 2023. The center was first accredited on May 1, 1993, and was the first program to achieve NAEYC accreditation in eastern North Carolina.

ECU’s child development center is open to the public and serves 52 children ages 12 weeks to 5 years. The center collaborates with Pitt County Schools to serve children qualified for the N.C. Pre-K program and works with the Department of Social Services to support the subsidized child care reimbursement program. The center also serves as a research and observation site for students and faculty at ECU. The staff supervises undergraduate students as they use child development theory in adult-child interactions, developmental guidance strategies and inclusive curriculum design.

In the 30 years since NAEYC accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high quality early childhood education. More than 7,000 programs are accredited by NAEYC — less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition.

“Earning NAEYC accreditation makes the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center an exemplar of good practice for families and the entire community,” said Kristen Johnson, senior director of early learning program accreditation at NAEYC.

The accreditation uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality improvement. The center conducted an extensive self-study followed by an on-site visit by assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the standards and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. Programs must be prepared to receive unannounced visits during their five-year accreditation term.

For more information, visit For more information about the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center or to schedule a tour, call Nolan at 328-6926.

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ECU News Services
Howard House, 1001 E. Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-328-6481

Contact: Melissa Nolan, Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center, or 252-328-6926