EDUCARE gets national NAEYC accreditation

  • Sign giving EDUCARE’s location in Orange. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, February 01, 2018

ORANGE — An educational child care center in Orange has gotten a renewal of accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the world’s largest organization representing early childhood education.

Accreditation of EDUCARE, located at 217 East Main St., was renewed after an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process followed by a visit by a NAEYC assessor, according to EDUCARE founder and director Susan Heinricher.

“It was a big project, for sure. We had to document absolutely everything we did with the kids — every activity, every lesson,” she said, adding that EDUCARE first got accreditation five years ago. Each accreditation term lasts five years, though NAEYC-accredited programs must submit annual reports to the organization based in Washington, D.C.

Heinricher said the assessor sat in on a day at EDUCARE, watching teachers interact with students and observing literacy and math lessons. According to NAEYC, it accredits more than 7,000 programs.

Heinricher explained she founded EDUCARE in 1981. She said she taught second and third grade at Gale Brook School, a three-room schoolhouse built in the 1940s, until it closed earlier that year.

“Someone on the School Committee said, ‘Susan, what are you going to do?’” Heinricher recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t know. I just moved to Orange. I love it here. I want to stay here.’ And they said, ‘You should start a preschool.’”

The center, which includes an after-school program, is open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Heinricher, who has a master’s in education from Lesley University, said she has 12 children enrolled and five people on staff. She said she can serve students between 2 years, 9 months old and 13 years old.

“I love my school — it’s almost like being up at Gale Brooks again. It’s very community oriented, parent oriented,” she said. “My soul is teaching. I live and breathe these kids.”