Ready, Set, Grow! Improves Memphis Childcare Centers

Accreditation by The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, is widely considered to be the premier stamp of approval an early childhood care center can receive. NAEYC accreditation indicates a high-quality environment where children’s emotional, social, and cognitive development can flourish. Increasing the capacity of these high-quality centers, and making them more accessible to economically disadvantaged children, are crucial steps in enabling Shelby County children to reach their full potential.

To meet this need, Ready, Set, Grow! (RSG), an initiative housed at University of Memphis and funded by the Plough Foundation, has set out to increase the number of NAEYC-accredited centers in Memphis. RSG recruits early childhood centers that have operated in Memphis for a minimum of five years to be a part of their program. Once a center joins the program, RSG provides the technical assistance, funding, coursework, and support that the center needs to meet NAEYC’s rigorous standards.

As of 2008, RSG had helped 23 centers obtain NAEYC accreditation. This tripled the number of economically disadvantaged children in Memphis enrolled in NAEYC-accredited care, and increased NAEYC-accredited schools in Memphis by 60% overall. Now, in 2013, there are 33 NAEYC-accredited care centers in Memphis. With this improved access to high quality care, more children in Memphis will enter school with the skills they need to be kindergarten ready, leading to positive outcomes in their education and careers later in life.

To maximize access to high-quality early care, Memphis must continue to support initiatives that help families seeking to enroll their children in NAEYC-accredited schools, and must ensure that high-quality childcare is accessible and affordable for economically disadvantaged families.

Visit the University of Memphis web site to learn more about Ready, Set, Grow!


University of Memphis.  (2008).  Ready Set Grow achieves 96 percent success rate in child care accreditation.  Memphis, TN.