Early Childhood Education


The Early Childhood Education curriculum prepares individuals to work with children from birth through age eight in diverse learning environments. Students learn to foster the development of young children in each of the following domains: approaches to play and learning, emotional and social, health and physical, language and communication and cognitive.

We teach our students utilizing the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development, North Carolina Division of Child Development rules and regulations, and current NC initiatives and organizations focused on early care and education. Our students engage and learn through practical, hands-on experiences, field trips, observations at local childcare centers, and community guest speakers They learn to implement curricula based on young children’s interests and developmental needs.

Graduates are prepared to plan and implement developmentally appropriate programs in early childhood settings. Employment opportunities include child development and child care programs, preschools, public and private schools, recreational centers, Head Start Programs, and school-age programs.

The Sandhills Community College Early Childhood Associate degree program is grounded in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards,  developmentally appropriate practice, and a playful approach to teaching and learning. Students learn multiple theories of child development and how these theories are reflected in developmentally appropriate practice. The program also has a strong emphasis on the value of nature and outdoor learning.

Early Childhood Education Student Handbook

Teacher Preparation Flyer (pdf) 


Unique Aspects

The Sandhills Community College Early Childhood Associate degree program was one of the first five community colleges in the United States to receive national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Our program incorporates practical experience at off-campus child care and educational settings.

Infographic showing seven standards that make a powerful educator made to look like a plant with each petal a standard. Standard 1: Playfulness promotes child development and learning. Standard 2: Partnerships build family and community relationships. Standard 3: observing, documenting and assessing to support young children and families. Standard 4: using developmentally effective approaches. Standard 5: using content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum. Standard 6: becoming a professional. Standard 7: Program's field experiences. The image also shares a quote by Linda Conway: It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted.

Core Values

In addition to the Colleges five core values of integrity, helpfulness, excellence, respect and opportunity, our conceptual framework is developed around the values in which Betty High Rounds so strongly believed. We continue to infuse these values throughout our program today and use them to guide our decision making process.

  • Put children first “ always.
  • Implement a holistic approach to teaching and learning.
  • Remove barriers to learning.
  • Inspire a love of reading.
  • Encourage self-reflection.
  • Collaborate with others and trust in the abilities of the group.
  • Foster creativity.
  • Grow role models, mentors, leaders and advocates.
  • Be goal driven and celebrate success.
  • Embrace life-long learning.
  • Be engaged and have fun.
  • Its all about relationships


Career Exploration Resources

Careers in Early Childhood

Child Care Services Association

Career Path Videos


Estimated Program Expenses

Tuition* $4,940.00-5,396.00 $17,420.00-19,028.00
Student Activity Fee $175.00 $175.00
Technology Fee $240.00 $240.00
General Education Course fees $0-100.00 $0-100.00
Textbooks $800.00 $800.00
Criminal Background Check & Drug Screening $30.00 $30.00

*Program credit hours: 65-71 – $76.00 per credit hour in-state tuition, $268.00 per credit hour out-of-state tuition. Tuition is determined by concentration selected.

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® North Carolina Scholarship Program provides educational scholarships to early care professionals and those who perform specialized functions in the early care system. 

Contact Information

Susan Wright, Coordinator/Professor, Early Childhood Education
231 Van Dusen Hall