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Providing comprehensive information about the array of projects funded under North Carolina's grant.

Community College Access - Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation

This Project establishes Early Childhood Associate Degree programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) with the Community College System. It also creates an innovation fund to support strategies that expand access and improve student success in early childhood associate degree programs.

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Associated Projects

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) is leading an effort that provides resources and support to North Carolina community colleges in their efforts to achieve accreditation, from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for Early Care and Education (ECE) programs. The NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation awards accreditation to associate degree programs that demonstrate evidence of meeting the Professional Preparation Standards. Accreditation provides a framework for self-study, external evaluation, and improvement in the quality of teacher preparation programs. NCCCS seeks to advance the accreditation efforts of at least 20 community colleges. The proposed strategies will benefit North Carolina's children by increasing the quality and consistency of ECE programs which directly correlates to better preparation for the professionals responsible for the care and education of preschool-aged children. ECE programs are operating at each of the state's 58 community colleges and through these programs, NC’s ECE professionals receive training and credentialing.

The NCCCS is the State Agency responsible for the oversight of each community college and each ECE program is approved and monitored by the NCCCS. The Division of Child Development has goals to ensure that North Carolina children are provided safe and healthy environments in quality child care settings. A critical factor in achieving this goal is to have an appropriately educated child care workforce. Program quality in the Early Childhood Education Associate of Applied Science programs in the NC Community College System is a vital component of a strong and high quality early care and education infrastructure in North Carolina. With over 16,000 students enrolled in Early Childhood coursework, the Community College system is the primary source for education and professional development of the early care and education (ECE) workforce. National program accreditation, through the NAEYC, provides associate degree ECE programs with an opportunity to align themselves with national field preparation standards and increase the quality of their AAS programs. Program accreditation works to ensure that the education received in the community college ECE programs is of high quality and will produce highly effective, knowledgeable, and skilled early educators for the field, thus having more positive outcomes for children and the families with whom they work.