Achieving That Gold Standard of Child Care

Jul 4, 2024
Written by: Sabrina Mulrain
Tena Holmgren is Minot AFB’s first FCC provider to be accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care.

Minot AFB childcare is striving to reach new heights. Tena Holmgren, one of MAFB’s own Family Child Care (FCC) providers reached those heights by earning her accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) back in November 2023. Not only is she one of only two accredited providers in the entire state of North Dakota, but she is also the first ever accredited provider here at Minot AFB. What does accreditation mean in terms of childcare? Well, let’s find out.

The NAFCC uses the only national accreditation system created expressly for family childcare providers. Providers who are NAFCC accredited have proven that their FCC program upholds these higher quality of child care standards.

Children in Tena Holmgren’s FCC program love to learn and explore no matter the weather outside.

Providers wanting to pursue accreditation need to be an FCC provider for at least one year and have completed all 15 Virtual Lab School modules (an online professional development system required by the Air Force to empower childcare professionals to build their knowledge and improve their practices). They then express their interest regarding NAFCC Accreditation to their FCC Coordinators who submit all paperwork for self-study fees to be paid by the Air Force and NAFCC Accreditation materials mailed out directly to them. When these materials are received, the provider officially begins the six-month self-study process.

There are six elements to the accreditation process, Self-Study, Application, Observation, Decision, Accreditation Update, and finally the Re-accreditation.

When asked what accreditation means to her Tena Holmgren stated “it’s the gold standard of family child care.” She went on further to explain how it is, “a dedication to always learn more about the child and be on the children’s level.” She mentioned how it’s awarded to providers who meet the eligibility standards and continue to uphold those higher quality standards, and that “the Air Force already has a very high standard of care and accreditation is just another step higher.” She elaborated on how accreditation is about, “celebrating diversity and focusing on the child, valuing them as the capable, resilient, fantastic people that they are. Accreditation comes with a commitment to learning about how to be a better provider for your child, everyday.”

Tena’s interest in accreditation started six months into becoming an FCC provider. She stated “I am one of those people that whatever I do I want to be the very best I can be.” She continued with “accreditation was another chance to grow and learn and give the children everything I can.”

When parents select a NAFCC accredited provider, they can be absolutely sure that their child will be cared for at the highest standards. When asked what makes accreditation so important and why providers should strive to reach that standard of care Tena stated, “because accreditation isn’t just a plaque on the wall, it is a dedication to learning more about your child and how to do better for the children everyday.” Tena further stated “it comes with a commitment to learning about how to be a better provider for your child everyday. You have to uphold professional development practices, so you are always learning and taking trainings to do better, and dedicating time to make sure that your space and home are exactly what the children and family need.”

Tena stated, “what they are looking for the most is the relationship you have with the children, because that is the foundation of childcare. You can’t teach them anything and they won’t learn anything until you have that relationship.” She expanded on the relationship aspect to say “they want the provider to be somebody who enjoys being with the kids, enjoys teaching them, who enjoys watching them learn and scaffolding upon their learning.”

When asked what her final thoughts about accreditation are, Tena stated “it’s a lot of work, there’s a lot that goes into being accredited but it’s worth it.” She knew she wanted to be accredited because she felt “the better I can be for the child the better they can learn and grow. I want my home to be a place where giggles echo and memories are made and in order to do that you have to have happy children.”

While the Air Force already holds all FCC providers to an exceptional standard, NAFCC accreditation goes further by adding on some specialized requirements. To find out more about becoming an FCC provider and the level of standards the providers uphold, check out .

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