Every weekday morning, as children arrive at the Virginia Tech Child Development Center for Learning and Research, the warm colors, soft lighting, natural materials, and cozy, child-sized furniture provide a welcoming environment for hours of play-based learning opportunities.

This carefully crafted ambiance goes hand-in-hand with the center’s many accolades, including, most recently, a new, five-year term of accreditation with the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

And how did the center fare in the rigorous renewal process? It excelled. In each of the 10 standards required, the center received scores of 100 percent or even higher. The average classroom rating was 99.5 percent.

“The center does more than provide child care; it also fulfills the service missions of Virginia Tech,” said Karen Gallagher, the center’s director. “By offering a model preschool program, it’s a leader for local, state, and national early-childhood-care communities in teaching, learning, and research.”

The center has also rated a Level 5 from Virginia Quality, the state’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system, making it one of only a handful of child development centers in the state to achieve the top level.