Graduates of the Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program are expected to have achieved specific standards established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  Additionally, graduates are expected to demonstrate specific Core Competencies established by the State of North Carolina and Central Piedmont Community College.  These are summarized below.

I. NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation
NAEYC's standards for professional preparation for Early Childhood programs at colleges and universities across the country represent a comprehensive vision of what early childhood professionals should know and be able to do at various points along the path of professional development. NAEYC’s associate degree standards and related supportive skills (listed below) are based on recent research in early childhood development and learning. They are performance based and describe what well-prepared graduates of associate degree programs should know and be able to do. These standards are also the core standards for the Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation, which opened to public application in April 2006 and were revised in 2010.

Standard 1: Promoting child development and learning

Standard 2: Building family and community relationships

Standard 3: Observing, documenting and assessing to support young children and families

Standard 4: Developmentally Effective Approaches

Standard 5: Content Knowledge

Standard 6: Becoming a professional

Supportive Skills
Supportive Skill 1: Self-assessment and self-advocacy
Supportive Skill 2: Mastering and applying foundational concepts from general education
Supportive Skill 3: Written and verbal communications skills
Supportive Skill 4: Making connections between prior knowledge/experience and new learning
Supportive Skill 5: Identifying and using professional resources

III. Central Piedmont Community College Core Competencies
Discipline knowledge and application are expected of all CPCC graduates. In addition, all graduates are expected to demonstrate achievement of each of the following competencies (these competencies go beyond simple content mastery):

1. Communication: the ability to read, write, speak, listen and use nonverbal skills effectively with different audiences.
Key Indicators:
• Uses appropriate methods to communicate (written and oral) based on audience and purpose
• Evaluates the effectiveness of communication of both self and others
• Utilizes non-verbal communication to effectively augment verbal message
• Understands and respects multiple perspectives
• Selects, adapts and combines communication strategies in relation to disciplinary/professional frameworks and theories

2. Critical Thinking: the ability to think using analysis, synthesis, evaluation, problem solving, judgment and the creative process.
Key Indicators:
• Thinks critically and creatively
• Formulates and re-evaluates position based on available evidence
• Asks appropriate questions that challenge assumptions and conventional wisdom
• Integrates ideas and values from different disciplines and contexts
• Uses reflection as a way to monitor and adjust thinking
• Understands and applies principles of learning and learning styles to own education
• Applies knowledge in practical ways
• Analyzes and evaluates data, ideas, patterns, principles, and perspectives
• Recognizes own biases and suspends judgmental thinking
• Uses problem solving strategies in a wide variety of professional situations and employs values and standards of judgments from different disciplines

3. Personal Growth and Responsibility: the ability to understand and manage self, to function effectively in social and professional environments and to make reasoned judgments based on an understanding of the diversity of the world community.
Key Indicators:
• Functions as an effective citizen in a global society
• Develops an openness to the arts and creative ways of self-expression
• Commitments reflect ethical and informed decision-making
• Assumes responsibility for own actions
• Functions as a life-long learner
• Monitors mental and physical health and overall well-being
• Achieves balance among education, work, leisure time, and family or life demands
• Sets, articulates and pursues realistic individual goals for education, work and leisure
• Respects personal and cultural differences
• Contributes effectively as a team member
• Interacts effectively in professional environments

4. Information Technology and Quantitative Literacy: the ability to locate, understand, evaluate and synthesize information and data in a technological and data driven society.
Key Indicators:
• Uses technology to access information for professional and personal needs
• Evaluates the relevance and appropriateness of information sources
• Applies knowledge of mathematics and technology to judge the accuracy and relevance of information
• Chooses the most appropriate technology for the job
• Communicates effectively using technology in a variety of forms and contexts
• Uses numbers to convey ideas and concepts as appropriate
• Applies basic mathematical concepts to interpret, manipulate and critique quantitative data and ideas that arise in personal and professional settings