ASSOCIATE IN APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
ABILITIES AND SKILLS NECESSARY FOR THE PROFESSION
As an early childhood education student, it is necessary to possess certain physical, mental and emotional abilities / skills to function effectively and efficiently in the role of child care provider / teacher. The ECE student must also demonstrate a set of abilities / skills referred to as 'technical standards' which include the following seven (7) categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, behavioral and social, emotional intelligence, and environment.
Reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a student must be able to perform in an independent manner. Such accommodations will be provided in accordance with Disabilities Services at Johnston Community College. The following abilities / skills are required, with or without accommodations.
Abilities and Skills Necessary for the Profession
- Physical and mental proficiency (medical report required before field experiences)
- Energy to fulfill responsibilities of the role of an early childhood teacher
- Up to date qualifying letter from the NC DCDEE for background check
- Visual acuity (with corrective devices as needed)
- Color vision, depth perception, peripheral vision
- Auditory acuity (with corrective devices as needed)
- Speech which can be understood by all persons across the lifespan
- Tactile ability
- Manual dexterity in all limbs
- Strength to push, pull and lift
- Strength / ability to carry, stoop, squat and bend
- Ability to:
- Reach above shoulder height
- Stand / walk for long periods of time
- Organize and effectively manage time to meet deadlines
- Perform neat and accurate work
- Respond to increasing pressure, emergencies and workloads
- Set priorities
- Communicate effectively with the health care team and consumer of health care services, both verbally and nonverbally
- Document completely and legible, using acceptable professional terminology
- Computer literacy
Technical Standards of the Profession
Observation: Students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe and participate in the classroom, laboratory and all fieldwork expected in an early childhood classroom settings. Functional vision, hearing, olfactory and tactile sensation must be adequate to accurately observe or assess children's growth, development and learning / classroom environments.
Communication: Students must be able to communicate effectively in the classroom, laboratory, and all fieldwork settings with children, families, mentor teachers, staff and college faculty. Students must demonstrate evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills, and technological literacy.
Motor: Students must have sufficient motor function to participate in basic caregiving procedures and to provide effective, quality care to children. Motor function includes both gross and fine motor skills, strength and coordination, physical stamina, and should be sufficient to allow the student to endure long periods of sitting, standing, walking, bending, lifting, twisting, and crouching and moving about in classroom environments.
Intellectual: In order to complete any coursework in the ECE Program, the student must be able to demonstrate mastery in reading and comprehension and use them together to demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning when working with young children. Students must be able to adhere to professional ethics and demonstrate a professional manner and insight in the communication process.
Behavior and Social: Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and prompt completion of all academic and child care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with children, families and other early childhood professionals is essential. The role requires flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation.
Emotional Intelligence: Students must possess and further develop emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence encompasses knowledge and management of one's own emotional life and the skills to process the various workplace and situations that arise when working with children and their families, or strained work environments or coworker relationships. Responses to giving and receiving feedback both positive and negative are also a part of emotional intelligence.
Environment: ECE requires management of multiple roles, tasks and decisions simultaneously. Working with young children requires high moral standards. Students with a criminal history will likely not have employment opportunities in the education field and may also not be able to complete the practicum/fieldwork requirements for the programs. A current NC DCDEE qualifying letter is required by the college prior to starting any early childhood program.
Risks for Early Childhood Professionals
The ECE student must be aware of potential risks related to teaching / caring for children which may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Exposure to communicable and infectious diseases
- Exposure to blood and body fluids
- Environmental hazards (e.g. slippery floors, various levels of lighting, various room and outdoor temperatures, exposure to sunlight, poor outdoor air quality, rain, and other weather related elements, etc.)
- Lifting young children & moveable furnishings and equipment
- Legal, moral & ethical dilemmas
- Liability Issues
ECE Program Practicum/Fieldwork requirements:
Students may be full time or part time in the program, however for the Early Childhood Education AAS program practicum/internship coursework is required. These courses require that students complete anywhere from 9-10 hours per week in an approved JCC practicum site (child care facilities or schools) with an approved mentor during specific times of the day. If a student is working in the field, they may or may not be able to complete this experience in the program/school where they are working or in their actual classroom. They should be aware of this prior to enrolling in the programs so that they can prepare in advance for this required experience.
- In addition, many EDU courses require individual fieldwork assignments in school and child care classrooms (ex. observations, interviews, completing an activity, etc.) as part of course requirements.
- Criminal History- Students with a criminal history will likely not have employment opportunities in an early childhood program and may also not be able to complete the practicum/fieldwork requirements for the programs. An up-to-date background check through the NC DCDEE is REQUIRED!
- Physical Health and Emotional Health- Students should be in good physical and emotional health in order to be a student in the Education programs. For example: students may have to lift children, get down on floor level or low level chairs to interact with young children, move around the classroom easily, work with children and families of various abilities and backgrounds, deal with stressful situations, etc. Employment in the field often requires TB, drug tests and physician examinations. Practice / fieldwork requires these components or students may not be able to complete the practicum requirements for the programs.
Resources for Students:
Careers in Early Childhood Education List of Careers (PDF): This document outlines various career choices in the field of early care and education including average salaries, required education, etc.
Revised Spring 2023