WSU Early Childhood Education Program Receives National Accreditation

OGDEN, Utah – During an end-of-the-year celebration, graduates of Weber State University’s early childhood education program receive capes, signifying their super power to educate young children.

Now those graduates have the additional confidence of knowing they have earned their degrees from the only university in Utah accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Senior Victoria Pierce teaches as part of her education

“NAEYC is the gold standard of accreditation, so meeting those standards demonstrates the high quality of Weber State’s early childhood education,” said Wei Qiu, child and family studies associate professor. “It wasn’t just faculty working on accreditation. It was students, community members, all stakeholders working together as a team to make this happen.”

Senior Victoria Pierce was one of the many students who contributed to the successful process. She believes graduating from an accredited program will indicate to future employers the quality of her education.

“Accreditation means you worked hard to prove you met all the national standards,” Pierce said. “It shows how much work, effort, passion and care you have for your organization and program.”

Following a rigorous two-year application and review process, this year Weber State was one of 12 schools in the country granted first-time accreditation by NAEYC in a pilot group of early childhood bachelor’s programs.

“The standards are based on the qualities required of effective early childhood education teachers,” said Carrie Ota, child and family studies associate professor. “We had to prove Weber State is giving students the necessary education, the ability to practice the skills, and the time and means to effectively reflect on the process.”

Accredited programs must show their students meet seven broad criteria, including promoting child development and learning; building family and community relationships; creating meaningful curriculum; and receiving practical experience.

Weber State educates approximately 200 early childhood/early childhood education majors each year, whose work will impact the lives of thousands of children and families.

Receiving capes during early childhood graduation ceremony

“I know how important it is to get foundational knowledge,” Pierce said. “When I was younger, I had a difficult time learning how to read and feeling confident, but I had really good teachers who helped me when I was in elementary school. That really instilled in me the desire to go out there to help children learn and grow no matter the obstacle.”

Weber State students have plenty of opportunity to test their knowledge; they are required to spend many supervised hours teaching and interacting with young children.

“One of the things we are really proud of is how much time our students spend in field experience,” said Teri Henke, child and family studies assistant professor. “Weber State students spend more than 300 hours teaching children at WSU’s Melba S. Lehner Children’s School and community programs before receiving a bachelor’s degree, so they have a lot of experience to combine with their classroom education.”

The accreditation will remain in place for seven years with reviews annually to make sure the program retains its high standards and quality.

For more information about the accreditation process, visit NAEYC.

Visit for more news about Weber State University.


Teri Henke, child and family studies assistant professor
801-626-7228 •

Carrie Ota, child and family studies associate professor
801-626-7151 •

Wei Qui, child and family studies associate professor
801-626-7386 •


Allison Barlow Hess, public relations director
801-626-7948 •