Early Childhood Education

Program Description

The Early Childhood Education curriculum prepares individuals for a career in the field of early childhood education. The program aims for individuals to attain content knowledge and understanding of theories, approaches, standards, and competencies needed in building relationships and working with young children (infancy through middle childhood) and their families. Students combining theory and content knowledge with field experiences will be better prepared to provide quality childcare and education and become competent early childhood professionals.

Program Content

Course work includes ways to promote child growth and development; establishing safe, age appropriate learning environments for all young children; build positive, respectful and supportive relationships with children and their families; use authentic assessment to guide teaching and learning;  plan activities based on the children’s needs, interests and developmental goals; demonstrate effective teaching and guidance strategies; and build meaningful learning experiences for the children that align with NC Early Learning Standards. Students will foster the cognitive, language, physical, social, emotional, and creative development of young children through play-based activities.

Early childhood education

Employment Opportunities

Graduates are prepared to plan and implement meaningful, developmentally appropriate programs in early childhood settings. Employment opportunities include child development programs, preschools, public and private schools, recreational centers, Head Start Programs, and school-age programs.

Additional Information

Prior to practicum coursework requirements, the student may be required by their practicum site, to furnish a statement signed by a licensed physician that indicates the student is emotionally and physically fit to care for children and an initial test showing the student to be free of active tuberculosis. Effective January 1, 1996, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring all child-care providers to receive a criminal history records check. Prior to the practicum coursework requirements, student also may be required to submit a Certified Criminal History Check from the Clerk of Superior Court's office and a completed fingerprint card for submission to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for criminal history check. (Section 2700 of Subchapter 3U-Child Day Care Rules on Criminal Records Check). The N.C. Division of Child Development requires completers of EDU 119 to be high school or GED graduates before issuing the North Carolina Early Childhood Credential (NCECC).

Students with a felony conviction may have limited certification and employment opportunities and may not be able to complete the Early Childhood Education degree.


Program mission and conceptual framework.

The JCC Early Childhood Education program is fortunate and proud to house a NC Five Star Rated (out of five stars) and Nationally Accredited (National Association for the Education of Young Children) child care facility, the JCC Child Development Center. All students in the Early Childhood Education A.A.S. program will have opportunities to observe and practice in the JCC CDC.

In addition, JCC's Early Childhood Education AAS degree is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This is the highest honor an associate degree ECE program can obtain and shows that our program:

  • responds to the unique needs of our students and stakeholders
  • provides intentional learning experiences to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to be effective early childhood educators
  • continuously assesses and reflects on our student's performance


Tonia Padrick, MA Ed
Department Chair of Education Programs
(919) 209-2500

Meagan McKinnon, MA Ed.
Academic Advisor for Early Childhood Education

Admissions Office
(919) 209-2128