The Early Childhood Care & Education certificate can be completed full time in 10 months or on a flexible, part-time basis.
During the first term, you are introduced to the fundamental principles of child development, health, safety and nutrition for the caregiver and the child, as well as positive child guidance. You will also have opportunities to plan early childhood play-based activities in the areas of art and literacy.
The second term builds on the content from Term 1, developing further into studies of child guidance and the foundations of professional practice. You will explore responsive learning environments and different curriculum models, including emergent and project-based curriculum.
In addition to scheduled classes, you will participate in a variety of practicum experiences. This allows you to explore different models of child care and different early learning environments. You will begin your practicum experiences with a focus on observation and will advance to implementing curriculum and working directly with children.
In the third term, you will participate in a field placement four days a week, working with a mentor while planning and implementing curriculum. Some classroom work is also required, such as participation in seminars and attendance in the Child, Family, and Community course.
A flexible approach of study allows you to create the schedule that works with your lifestyle. A range of part-time options from a single course to multiple years of study are available and should be discussed with the department chair or instructor on an individual basis.
For example, the blended learning option allows you to take classes with a diverse and vibrant community of learners in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Port Hardy and Ucluelet. Classes take place in the evening via Interactive TV and online sessions, allowing you to balance work, family and school while earning your certificate.
Program graduates receive NIC's Early Childhood Care and Education certificate, which fulfills the provincial ECE curriculum requirements for certification and employment in the early childhood education sector in BC. Requirements for your BC Early Childhood Educator certification (including 500-hours of work experience) are posted on the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development website
Early Childhood Care and Education Certificate
Employment opportunities in the field will increase with further training and work experience. The Early Childhood Care & Education certificate prepares you to work with young children of varying abilities from 30 months to five years, in a variety of early learning settings. Program completion is the first step toward your BC Early Childhood Educator certification. This program also provides opportunities for you to work with children and their families in other related fields.
Early Childhood Educator Assistant
An assistant certification enables you to care for children under the supervision of a fully certified early childhood educator. To qualify for ECE Assistant certification, you must complete at least one for-credit post-secondary course in an approved ECE training program in one of the following areas:
child guidance, or
health, safety and nutrition
Graduates of the Early Childhood Care & Education certificate or Educator Assistant course(s) applying for their BC Early Childhood Educator certification should forward a copy of their official college transcript, along with their application, to:
Early Childhood Education Registry
Ministry of Children and Family Development
PO Box 9965 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC V8W 9R4
In Greater Victoria: (250) 356-6501
If you plan to continue your education, you may enter the NIC Early Childhood Care & Education diploma program, or you may choose to transfer your certificate credentials to a program at another post-secondary institution. Many institutions will recognize the certificate program for block transfer credit. The opportunity to continue into a degree program in child and youth care is also available. You should contact an educational advisor at your university of choice for information regarding admission and transfer credit.
Practicums are an essential component of the Early Childhood Care and Education program, giving you the opportunity to put your theory and knowledge into practice under the direction of qualified early childhood educators. Before beginning your practicum, you will have opportunity to consult with faculty to collaboratively plan your practicum placement. Please note, while the majority of practicums occur where you live, it may be necessary to complete a practicum outside of your community. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from practicum settings.