Early Childhood Education - Pre-Birth to Kindergarten Diploma

Three toddlers playing with toys

Early Childhood Education - Pre-Birth to Kindergarten Diploma

Program Code: D55220A

Our Pre-Birth to Kindergarten diploma program will provide you with knowledge about the earliest moments of a child’s life through kindergarten age. Emphasis is placed on the growth and development of the first years of life. You will complete a hands-on practicum experience working with children in the infant through two-year-old range.

Upon completion of this diploma program, you will have 42 credits which can be applied to the Early Childhood Education diploma or degree program.

This is a diploma program and requires fewer credits and less time to complete than a degree program. If you’re looking for an even quicker option, the certificate program may be for you.

The Early Childhood Education program also offers degree, additional diploma, and certificate options.

Learn more about this program’s student outcome data.

*Practicums must have prior approval and observations conducted at an educational institution.

Skills You’ll Learn

The Early Childhood Education program is focused on job-related skills in the following areas:

  • Understanding child growth and development, physical/nutritional needs of children, care and guidance of children, and communication skills with parents and children
  • Mastering cognitive/language, physical/motor, social/emotional, and creative development of young children
  • Combining learned theories with practice in actual settings with young children under the supervision of qualified teachers

Career Opportunities

There are many employment opportunities for Early Childhood Education graduates, including:

  • Childcare programs
  • Private preschool programs
  • Recreational centers
  • School-age programs
  • Teacher assistant in public schools and NC Pre-K programs

Additional Information

  • Most career opportunities in child care require you to pass the NC Division of Child Development and undergo a fingerprint and Early Education background check
  • You must complete EDU 119 with a grade of C or higher in order to be eligible for the NC Childcare Credential
  • Public schools require 40 credits hours to be a teacher assistant (Craven County also requires a bus driver’s license)

Diploma requirements

42 Credit Hours

The following suggested schedule is based on full-time enrollment. Part-Time Students begin with ACA-111, EDU 119, EDU 131. Continue with sequence of required courses. General education courses may be taken at any time. For information about prerequisites and corequisites, please refer to the catalog.

Courses in this program

Semester Credit Hours: 14

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course introduces the college's physical, academic, and social environment and promotes the personal development essential for success. Topics include campus facilities and resources; policies, procedures, and programs; study skills; and life management issues such as health, self-esteem, motivation, goal-setting, diversity, and communication. Upon completion, students should be able to function effectively within the college environment to meet their educational objectives.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the foundations of early childhood education, the diverse educational settings for young children, professionalism and planning intentional developmentally appropriate experiences for each child.

Lecture Hours: 4  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 4 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers the development of partnerships among culturally, linguistically and ability diverse families, children, schools and communities through the use of evidence-based strategies. Emphasis is placed on developing skills and identifying benefits for establishing and supporting respectful relationships between diverse families, programs/schools, and community agencies/resources reflective of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and the Code of Ethics for North Carolina Educators.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of every child. Topics include health and nutritional guidelines, common childhood illnesses, maintaining safe and healthy, learning environments, health benefits of active play, recognition and reporting of abuse/neglect, and state regulations. Upon completion, students should be able to apply knowledge of NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development for health, safety, nutritional needs and safe learning environments.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides an overview of the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include history, methodology, biopsychology, sensation, perception, learning, motivation, cognition, abnormal behavior, personality theory, social psychology, and other relevant topics. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the science of psychology.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One from:, DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002
  • Corequisites:
    None

Semester Credit Hours: 16

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course includes the theories of child development, observation and assessment, milestones, and factors that influence development, from conception through approximately 36 months.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course includes the theories of child development, observation and assessment, milestones, and factors that influence development, from preschool through middle childhood.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces evidence-based strategies to build nurturing relationships with each child by applying principles and practical techniques to facilitate developmentally appropriate guidance. Topics include designing responsive/supportive learning environments, cultural, linguistic and socio-economic influences on behavior, appropriate expectations, the importance of communication with children/families including using technology and the use of formative assessments in establishing intentional strategies for children with unique needs.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    Take EDU-145

This course covers the development of high-quality, individualized, responsive/engaging relationships and experiences for infants, toddlers, and twos. Emphasis is placed on typical and atypical child development, working with diverse families to provide positive, supportive, and engaging early learning activities and interactions through field experiences and the application of the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take EDU-119
  • Corequisites:
    Take EDU-144

This course focuses on practical applications that support the healthy development of children birth to 36 months by applying principles of quality, individualized, responsive/engaging relationships and experiences. Emphasis is placed on typical and atypical child development, positive early learning experiences, supporting and engaging diverse families, providing safe, warm and nurturing interactions, and the application of the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    Take EDU-234

This course is designed to develop the ability to produce clear writing in a variety of genres and formats using a recursive process. Emphasis includes inquiry, analysis, effective use of rhetorical strategies, thesis development, audience awareness, and revision. Upon completion, students should be able to produce unified, coherent, well-developed essays using standard written English.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One Set:,Set 1: DRE-097,Set 2: ENG-002,Set 3: BSP-4002
  • Corequisites:
    Take ENG-011

Semester Credit Hours: 12

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course introduces developmentally supportive creative learning environments with attention to divergent thinking, creative problem-solving, evidence-based teaching practices, and open-ended learning materials while applying NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. Emphasis is placed on observation of process driven learning experiences in art, music, creative movement, dance, and dramatics for every young child age, birth through eight, integrated through all domains and academic content.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers atypical patterns of child development, inclusive/diverse settings, evidenced-based educational/family plans, differentiated instruction, adaptive materials, and assistive technology. Emphasis is placed on the characteristics of exceptionalities and delays, early intervention/special education, transitions, observation, developmental screening, formative assessment of children, and collaborating with families and community partners.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take one set:, Set 1: EDU-144 and EDU-145, Set 2: PSY-244 and PSY-245
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides evidence-based strategies for enhancing language and literacy experiences that align with NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. Topics include developmental sequences for children's emergent receptive and expressive language, print concepts, appropriate observations/assessments, literacy enriched, environments, quality selection of diverse literature, interactive media, and inclusive practices.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

MAJ-001 is a category of major electives and not a specific course name. To select the appropriate credit hours for this individual program, select Major Electives to view available class options.

Lecture Hours: –  Lab Hours: –  Clinical Hours: –  Credit Hours: – 
  • Prerequisites:
    View specific course for prerequisite information
  • Corequisites:
    View specific course for corequisite information

Students must select three credits from the following options. Contact an advisor for information on work based learning courses.

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides a survey of the business world. Topics include the basic principles and practices of contemporary business. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of business concepts as a foundation for studying other business subjects.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course is designed to provide students an introduction to sign language systems and technology in educational environments. Topics include receptive and expressive sign language usage including English-based systems, American Language, deaf culture and identity, assistive technology, and use of sign language as a classroom management strategy. Upon completion, students should be able to communicate at an introductory level using sign language, describe aspects of deaf culture and identity, and identify assistive technology for children with hearing loss in the education system.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces physical activities to promote the development of the whole child, birth through middle childhood. Topics include active play, outdoor learning, design of the environment, development of play skills, loose parts play, nature play, risk benefit assessment, advocacy, and family/community connection. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss the stages of play, the role of teachers in play, active play environments, advocate for the child's right to play, and plan and assess appropriate experiences using NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the examination of the American educational systems and the teaching profession. Topics include the historical and philosophical influences on education, various perspectives on educational issues, and experiences in birth through grade 12 classrooms. Upon completion, students should be able to reflect on classroom observations, analyze the different educational approaches, including classical/traditional and progressive, and have knowledge of the various roles of educational systems at the federal, state and local level.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course includes developmentally appropriate practices in group settings for school-age children. Emphasis is placed on principles of development, environmental planning, and positive guidance techniques and program development. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss developmental principles for culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse children ages five to twelve and plan and implement developmentally appropriate programs and activities.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces principles and practices essential to preparing and supporting child care administrators. Topics include program philosophy, policies and procedures, NC Child Care Law and Rules, business planning, personnel and fiscal management, and NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct Supplement for Early Childhood Program Administration. Upon completion, students should be able to articulate a developmentally appropriate program philosophy, locate current state licensing regulations, analyze a business plan and examine comprehensive program policies and procedures.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    Take EDU-119

This course introduces the fundamental elements of the Spanish language within a cultural context. Emphasis is placed on the development of basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills., Upon completion, students should be able to comprehend and respond with grammatical accuracy to spoken and written Spanish and demonstrate cultural awareness.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One: DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002, ENG-111
  • Corequisites:
    Take SPA-181

This course provides an opportunity to enhance acquisition of the fundamental elements of the Spanish language. Emphasis is placed on the progressive development of basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through the use of various supplementary learning media and materials. Upon completion, students should be able to comprehend and respond with grammatical accuracy to spoken and written Spanish and demonstrate cultural awareness.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take SPA-111
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 10  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 20  Credit Hours: 2 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 30  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 10  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 20  Credit Hours: 2 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides a work-based learning experience with a college-approved employer in an area related to the student's program of study. Emphasis is placed on integrating classroom learning with related work experience. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate career selection, demonstrate employability skills, and satisfactorily perform work-related competencies.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 10  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

Questions others are asking.

We offer several credentials that provide the flexibility you need. Most degree programs last two years and provide the most in-depth study of a particular subject. Diplomas and certificates take less time and are often taken in conjunction with other degree programs. Specialized training is also available for workforce development programs that are completed in less than a year.

This program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

After completing EDU 119 with a grade of C or better, students will apply to the NC Division of Child Development to receive the lead instructor credential. Forms are online here. Original transcripts must be sent to DCD, either directly from Craven Community College or in a sealed envelope accompanying the student’s completed credentials application.

The Financial Aid office, located in Barker Hall on our New Bern campus, has information about national and state financial assistance, scholarships, grants, and work-study positions. Federal financial aid begins with you completing the Free Application for Financial Assistance (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.

Program-specific scholarships and/or resources may also be available (depending on funding, availability, and other criteria) to individuals already employed in the fields of Early Childhood and/or education. Information about these potential scholarships/funding sources is available at the Craven County Smart Start Office.

Individuals teaching in the N.C. Public Schools are required to meet N.C. Department of Public Instruction licensing requirements which include, at the minimum, a bachelor’s degree and state certification for the area/grade in which they plan to teach. Graduates from our Early Childhood Education program earn an associate in applied science degree and therefore would need to continue education at the baccalaureate level (or beyond) if planning to work as a teacher in N.C. Public Schools. There are also teacher associates who assist classroom teachers in the public schools, and the AAS degree is the requirement for those positions.

Although a limited number of articulation agreements have been developed between the N.C. Community College System and the University of North Carolina System for Early Childhood graduates who wish to transfer, these articulation agreements are designed to provide support to students who decide to transfer to a baccalaureate program after completion of an associate in applied science degree. It is therefore generally more efficient for students who plan (at the time of enrollment) to complete a bachelor’s degree in a field of education to enroll in the Associate of Arts program at Craven Community College.

Contact Information

Career Programs
Advanced Manufacturing Center
New Bern Campus
252-638-7370

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