Examining Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Amidst Unprecedented Times

Community colleges are an integral component of the United States’ (U.S.) educational pipeline and play a critical role in developing early educators. In the spring of 2020, an unprecedented global health pandemic—COVID-19—swept the nation, causing institutions to rapidly respond to online teaching and learning. As a first-in-a-lifetime occurrence, most institutions adapted and evolved in real time with no implementation guide.
During the 2020-21 academic year, the NC State College of Education’s Friday Institute and the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research partnered together to study how early childhood education (ECE) programs in North Carolina community colleges navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Three research questions guided the work:
  • RQ1a: To what extent did enrollment and completion outcomes change for community college students who were enrolled in face-to-face (F2F) early education courses that transitioned to a remote learning environment? 
  • RQ1b: How do overall enrollment and completion trends compare for Black, Latinx and American Indian students?
  • RQ2: What supports and barriers did community college faculty have to transition these F2F early education courses to a remote learning environment? 
This project was funded by a Catalyst Grant from the Friday Institute and NC State College of Education.