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Conceptual Framework

The Cape Fear Community College Early Childhood Associate Program is dedicated to preparing individuals interested in working with young children and families to become competent, caring, knowledgeable professionals. Our program strives to instill in our students a passion for developing nurturing relationships, respecting and supporting diversity in children and their families, as well as, a commitment to becoming professional early childhood educators and caregivers. Educated early childhood teachers and caregivers are a critical component in providing quality childcare. A sound ECE philosophy regarding best practices is incorporated throughout our curriculum program and has been the base for our conceptual framework from the beginning. The clarity and structure of our framework continue to emerge and grow with our own insight and reflection.

The Early Childhood Program provides students the strong knowledge base needed to become early childhood professionals with a focus on best practices. The CFCC Early Childhood Degree Curriculum Program of study is guided by the NAEYC Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs Standards and Supportive Skills for Early Childhood Professional Preparation, the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, and the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.

Students’ knowledge base of early childhood is integrated with many opportunities for real experiences with children to further their understanding of childcare and education. Connecting theories with hands-on learning are incorporated throughout our program. Many meaningful opportunities for students to observe, document, assess, reflect, implement, interact, and be actively involved with children in diverse and inclusive settings are provided. Multiple and varied opportunities for hands-on experiences are offered in ECE classes, labs, and fieldwork. The CFCC-Bonnie Sanders Burney CDC (our Lab school) is a NAEYC accredited, 5 Star child development center, located on our downtown campus, and provides a quality setting in which ECE students gain valuable experiences. The ECE Program has a strong working relationship with the CFCC-CDC sharing a similar philosophy on early childhood education.

Ultimately, the early childhood program strives to prepare students to become professionals in the field of early childcare and education. Student knowledge of child development, understanding of theories of learning, building nurturing, respectful relationships with children and families, acquiring skills in observation/documentation, and planning/ implementing effective approaches to teaching are incorporated throughout the program. Content knowledge needed to provide quality childcare and education in the workforce and opportunities for demonstrating best practices and upholding the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, provide the future educators and caregivers of children to be competent, caring, and professional.

Preparing competent and knowledgeable teachers will provide high-quality care and education for young children. The CFCC-ECE Program provides the framework for students to construct the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to grow into competent professionals in the early childhood field.

The ECE program inspires our students to attain:

  • Content Knowledge- Child Development, Theories of Learning, Effective Approaches to Teaching, Authentic assessment using observation/ documentation, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Diversity
  • Professional Standards and Guidelines–NAEYC Associate Degree Program Standards, NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development
  • Building Relationships-caring, nurturing, respectful relationships with children/families
  • Experiences–Hands-on learning in coursework, labs, and fieldwork (Capstone)
  • Professionalism– Reflective practices, upholding Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards, Advocacy
The Building Blocks of Early Childhood Education

Professionalism: Reflective practices, professional standards, ethical guidelines, advocacy; Experiences: Coursework, Labs, Capstone, Fieldwork; Content Knowledge: Child Development, Theories of Learning, Effective Approaches, Authentic assessment, DAP, diversity; Professional Guidelines & Standards: NAEYC Program standards, NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, NC Foundations; Building Relationships: Caring, Nurturing, Respectful

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