Moody Early Childhood Center opened in the fall of 2016 as a partnership between the Galveston Independent School District and a nonprofit early childhood education organization.

The partnership we envisioned was a continuum of early learning that began with infants, continued through the toddler years and into and through prekindergarten. The center’s founding board made a commitment that educational opportunities would be financially accessible to all Galveston families, including those with lower household incomes.

Support from Galveston and Texas philanthropic foundations, led by the Moody Foundation, has made that promise possible to keep throughout the center’s four years of operation.

With the stated mission of giving Galveston children “the opportunity to soar,” the center is determined to deliver children to the doors of Galveston Island kindergarten classrooms equipped with the social, emotional and academic skills to ensure a strong start to their school careers.

In the summer of 2019, the Texas Education Agency designated the center as the first “in district” charter school for infants, toddlers and prekindergarten students in the state.

“We are proud of our ongoing partnership with MECC and look forward to welcoming the first graduating class of 4-year-olds to GISD’s kindergarten classrooms this fall,” Kelli Moulton, superintendent of the district, said.

This year, the center has begun yet another groundbreaking process; the center is seeking accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that requires early childhood learning centers to meet high standards in 10 areas: relationships with children; curriculum; teaching approaches; child assessment; nutrition and health; staff qualifications; relationships with students’ families; relationship with the community; physical environment on the campus; and program leadership and management.

Earlier this spring, the center staff and board completed the first step in this process, a self-review of the center’s policies, procedures, facilities and operations. The next step calls for a national team of early childhood education professionals to conduct a site visit to determine if the center is in compliance with the association’s accreditation standards.

After the site visit, data from the center’s program records is analyzed and a determination is made to award accredited status to the center.

In reflecting on the association’s process, we know that children who receive high-quality, research-based early education are more likely to earn a good living, live a healthy life, avoid incarceration, raise stronger families and contribute to society.

All of us at the center are eagerly awaiting the national site visit as soon as that is possible.

Karin Miller is principal of the Moody Early Childhood Center.

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