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Main Programs and Courses Teaching Education Programs Early Childhood Education Diploma

Early Childhood Education Diploma

Please check with the campus of your choice for program availability.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)


The development years in a child's education are among the most important. Early childhood educators have a profound impact on a child's success in early development and learning. 


ECE Courses


At Vancouver Career College, our 72-week diploma program teaches students how to plan, organize, and implement programs for children between the ages of infancy and 12 years old. Take classes in language and literature, music and movement, drama and creative expression, and much more.


Graduates of the ECE program go on to lead children in activities to stimulate and develop their intellectual, physical, and emotional growth; ensuring their needs of security and well-being are met.


Job-Ready Certification


Before graduating, students of the ECE program will have obtained real-world experience working with young children in a series of five and six-week practicum placements. (Must be completed in British Columbia)


The Early Childhood Education diploma program (including completion of infant toddler and special needs training) meet the academic requirements necessary to apply to the Early Childhood Educator Registry for provincial certification as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE), Infant Toddler Educator (ITE) and Special Needs Educator (SNE) in British Columbia.


Academic Requirements for Admissions:


  • High school graduation or equivalent (From an English language teaching institution)


  • Mature student status (19 years of age upon starting classes, and Pass college’s English admissions test.)

Administrative Requirements for Admissions:


  • Interview with ECE instructor
  • Current resume (record of work history) 
  • Three character references

NOTE: It is important to note that a student must complete the ‘basic’ portion of the program (all classroom-based and practicum components) before starting the ‘post-basic’ section of the program. [See the Course Breakdown.]



(Practicum, Clinical Placement or Preceptorship)

  • Criminal record check (in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act)
  • Up-to-date immunization report (form provided by college)

Note: Please refer to Student Handbook for more information.

Note: The following courses require both criminal record check and immunization report prior to the first day.

  • ECE 1135: Language Study Observation Practicum
  • ECE 1140: Child Study Observation Practicum
  • ECE 1151: Guidance, Caring and Behaviour Management
  • ECE 2181: Planning Indoor and Outdoor Play Environments
  • ECE 2100: Practicum I
  • ECE 2190: Practicum II
  • ECE 4020: Foundations of Working with Infants and Toddlers
  • ECE 4070: Foundations of Working With Special Needs Children
  • ECE 4041: Infant and Toddler Practicum
  • ECE 4091: Special Needs Practicum

This program has been approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

This program is 72 weeks in length.
  • Daycare Supervisor
  • Daycare Worker
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Infant and Toddler Educator
  • Special Needs Educator
  • Preschool Supervisor
  • Daycare Teacher
  • Early Childhood Education Worker

Hear From an ECE Grad

Takiya speaks to her positive campus experience and her time at Vancouver Career College.

Program Courses
SSS4 / Student Success Strategies

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and study techniques to help foster effective learning and a positive educational experience. This course explores many different theories on learning and studying and how these theories can be applied to each student’s individual studying methods in order to develop a method that is both effective and efficient. Effective study habits and productive note-taking are key topics in this course, as well as the importance of values and goals. Through active participation in learner-centred activities, students will explore and practice strategies for setting personal goals, prioritizing tasks, managing time, and managing the stress that arises in school or work situations. This course will also equip students with a sound understanding of matters related to finance, credit, and debt and the critical implications they have on our lives. Students taking this course will complete the Enriched Academy program, which provides comprehensive coverage of financial and money management skills that will allow them to better save, budget, and manage their money and financial situations.

ITC4 / Introduction to Computers
This course is a broad-based introduction to using a personal computer. It teaches the fundamentals of an operating system and the most popular application software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. You will also learn about the Internet, Web browsers, electronic mail and antivirus software. The course is based on the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft office 2013 and a variety of popular software programs for the Internet-related and security-related applications
ECE1100 / Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This module will detail the history of the ECE environment in British Columbia including an overview of the licensing agency and acts and regulations responsible for child care facilities and child care facility staff. Students complete assignments to build practical understanding of licensing, staff qualifications, educator/child ratio and activities.

As the course is aptly named, several important regulations, philosophies, and common themes are introduced here and are reinforced throughout the program as well: 

  • British Columbia Child Care Sector Occupational Competencies
  • British Columbia Early Learning Framework
  • Child Care Licensing Regulation
  • Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia (ECEBC) Code of Ethics
  • Child Care BC Act
  • Community Care and Assisted Living Act
  • Child Care Subsidy Act
  • Child Care Subsidy Regulation
  • Safe Play Space Standard of Practice
  • Family Child Care Standard of Practice
  • StrongStart BC early learning programs
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • Pedagogical narration and peer review
  • Creating portfolios
  • Teaching theories (e.g. Reggio Emilia approach, Montessori, etc.)
ECE1160 / Developing Activity Plans

The focus of this module is on the development and implementation of age - and stage - appropriate activities. Students will learn how to set learning objectives and design and evaluate activities and lessons. 

Ideally this course is studied in the early phase of the program, as the skills learned apply to assignments and study of various subject areas of curriculum covered in the ECE program.

ECE2110 / Learning Through Play
In play, children represent and transform the world around them, providing other children and adults with a window into their thoughts and perceptions, and often helping adults to the see world in new ways. This guiding principle, a key point in the Early Learning Framework and supported by HealthyFamiliesBC, is enveloped into the full ECE program with a comprehensive introduction in this course. This module focuses on the development of strategies, based on theories of play to enhance the value of constructive and positive play in the childcare environment.
ECE1110 / Communities, Families and Support Networks

Professional responsibilities and the roles of Early Childhood Educators will be explored. The hierarchy and communication among family-based team members as well as the role of staffing will be addressed. Students will also learn about legal and ethical practice issues, the role of confidentiality, acceptable behaviours and standards of care.

Special topics will include practices of ECE for immigrant and refugee children in BC, application of the Code of Ethics, and the function of the Child Care Resource & Referral Program in communities across BC.

ECE1120 / Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
This module will introduce students to positive communication skills, verbal and non-verbal, in an ever-changing diverse and multicultural environment. Communication, conflict resolution and issue understanding are key elements explored in this module.
ECE1131 / Child Growth and Development I

This module is an in-depth study of all aspects of child development from infancy to early childhood. Students will look at theories of human development and how these theories affect the practices of early childhood educators. The purpose of this module is to give students thorough background knowledge of child growth and development. As a result of this module, students will be able to identify the unique developmental needs of children and cater their early childhood programs to meet those needs.

Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education

ECE1135 / Language Study Observation Practicum

In this 2-week, 60-hour observation practicum, students will study one child’s speech and language development in a licensed childcare centre for children who are between the ages of 2.5 years and 5 years of age. Following the assignment guidelines, students will use several observation methods to capture this specific child’s developing speech and language. Using the information gathered from these observations the students plan three developmentally appropriate speech and language activities that would enhance this child’s speech and language abilities. Implementation of these activities is optional. Throughout these two weeks, students are to attend two 2.5 hour practicum seminars.

ECE1140 / Child Study Observation Practicum
A two-week Observation Practicum supervised by a certified Early Childhood Educator (Sponsor Supervisor) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE Faculty member from Vancouver Career College. The focus will beon workplace conduct, routines and environment, working with children individually, and parent-teacher partnerships, as well as working on a child study of one child focusing on the developmental stages and behaviours of the child.
ECE1151 / Guidance, Caring and Behaviour Management

This module will develop practitioner skills necessary to provide a positive, safe, and nurturing environment. Strategies for guidance, discipline, and conflict will be examined through in-class work and observation assignments.

The course includes a two-day observation for the assignment ‘Guidance Observation’. Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education.

ECE1170 / Art and Creative Development
This module is centred on understanding and facilitating hands-on arts and crafts experience. Students have the opportunity to place developmental theories into practice throughout this module. Assignments include learning to record the behaviour and actions of children involved in the drawing process (pedagogical narration), as well as building resource files for future use and preparing activity plans.
ECE2120 / Music and Movement

This module deals with physical, social and emotional growth through a variety of structure, music and movement programs. Students record and describe the ways in which children are exposed to music and how it can be utilized to set atmosphere, ease transitions and waiting periods, and guide and redirect behaviour.

This course also introduces resources from organizations such as LEAP BC™, that promote healthy child development through physical movement while integrating activity and play with literacy and education during engagement with young children in programs like Move™ and Hop™.

ECE2170 / Program Planning and Implementation
Students learn to create program plans that include the setting of short and long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional goals for clients. This module takes a holistic view of assisting in the fulfillment of client needs.
ECE1180 / Language and Literature
This module aims to develop student understanding about the acquisition of language and the benefits of exposure to literature. Strategies to introduce children to age and content appropriate literature will be covered through the study of early childhood experiences in language arts. The language study observation practicum (part of ECE1130) usually follows this course to apply theory to practice.
ECE2130 / Drama and Creative Expression
Diverse lifestyles, multi-cultural experiences and varied social settings are explored through the construct of imaginative play environments. Assignments include the development of play prop boxes that can be used to encourage drama in a childcare facility.
ECE1190 / Introduction to Practicum

Expectations, documentation, policies and procedures highlight this module as preparation for practicum placements. Students meet with Sponsor Supervisors at their placement site to build comfort level and discuss facility procedures, practicum assignments and other requirements. Students also have the opportunity to outline personal goals and objectives and how they expect to achieve them. There is also an open and supportive forum to discuss potential fears and concerns students may have as they anticipate their first ECE practicum experience. 

This course is included in the practicum hours as approved by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

ECE2100 / Foundations Practicum I: Language and Art
This is a formative, integrated community-based practicum, supervised by a certified early childhood educator (sponsor supervisor) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE faculty members from the college. This is an opportunity to put theory into practice in a child-care facility in order to develop competency levels. Emphasis at this formative stage of the program is on language and art.
ECE2140 / Science and Math
This module will enable students to build and incorporate science and math activities into the childcare environment. Students will complete assignments to further their exploration and understanding of science and math learning activities. A component of this course also introduces technology applications in the early childhood environment.
ECE2150 / Social Studies
Students focus on key features of social studies activities into planning for children. Universal family units, social sensitivity and multiculturalism are covered in detail. Students will complete assignments to further their exploration and understanding of social studies learning activities.
ECE2181 / Planning Indoor and Outdoor Play Environments

The purpose of this module is to help students develop the knowledge needed to create early childhood environments that enhance learning and further development. This module will aid students in understanding that quality environments for children are conducive to optimal growth and development. At the end of this module students will be prepared with the necessary skills and knowledge to plan and arrange a childcare environment that nurtures the whole child. Students will be able to evaluate the functional, physical and aesthetic components of space for children. This module may include a two-day observation in a child care centre.

ECE2160 / Health, Safety and Nutrition

This module will address proactive measures for reactive methods of addressing illness prevention, disease transmission, abuse, and childhood behaviours such as bullying. Assignments may include practical application such as menu evaluations, shopping assignments, and Occupational Health & Safety Regulation applications, as well as topics related to nutrition, healthy eating programs, and the Canada Food Guide. Students will also take a one-day Emergency Child Care First Aid and CPR program through external certification. Students also will be trained in FoodSafe™ - Level I certification (8 hours). Students should note that some of the training covered in this course will require more than five hours of class time on specific days in the schedule.

Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education.

ECE3100 / Daycare Administration

During this module, students will have the opportunity to debrief on their earlier practicum and observation experiences and review the application and development of skills and core concepts learned throughout the program. Basic centre administration will be covered including budgeting, scheduling, centre structure, and organization, as well as other management skills.

A guest speaker (licensing officer) is normally scheduled for this course.

ECE2190 / Practicum II: Summative Practice
During this practicum, students will undergo work-based experience in which they plan and deliver childcare. Students will have numerous opportunities to complete prepared activity plans, observe children at play, observe and evaluate typical and challenging behaviours. There will be supervision by a certified Early Childhood Educator (Sponsor Supervisor). During this competency-based practicum, students will also be observed and evaluated by an ECE faculty member from Vancouver Career College.
CES4 / Career and Employment Strategies

This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course or its equivalent. It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer. Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identifyemployment opportunities. Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the work place and to describe these skills to a prospective employer. Students may be videotaped during a mock interview and will participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.

ECE4000 / Advanced Child Growth and Development
Students will review typical development from birth to six years of age. This module includes a focus on recognition of children who require additional support with an emphasis placed on current theory and research. Students will apply their knowledge of child growth, development and individual differences using a case study approach.
ECE4010 / Interacting with Families, School and Community
This module examines the knowledge, strategies and competencies needed by the early childhood educator to collaborate effectively with families of infants, toddlers and children who need additional support. The ethics of empowerment of families, professionals, and children is also examined. Students will review the family systems approach, communication skills and the family-centred care model.
ECE4050 / Administration Skills for Child Care Centers
This module prepares students in the administrative duties of a preschool or daycare. Topics such as program philosophy and policy design, financial management, organizational structure, staff development and relationships with families and community will be highlighted.
ECE4060 / Advanced Health, Safety and Nutrition
This module equips the student with knowledge and skills for planning, implementing and evaluating health practices for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children who need extra support in integrated and infant/toddler settings.
ECE4020 / Foundations of Working with Infants and Toddlers
Working with infants and toddlers poses new challenges for the early childhood educator. This course will help the student develop the understanding and skills necessary for sensitive and respectful responding to infants and toddlers in-group care settings.
ECE4030 / Program Planning for Infants and Toddlers
Students will build on their prior understanding of developmentally appropriate curriculum for very young children. Students will have opportunities to design high quality infant and toddler programs and activities.
ECE4041 / Infant & Toddler Practicum

A six-week integrated community based practicum, supervised by a Certified Infant Toddler Educator (Sponsor Teacher) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE Faculty from the College. This laboratory course provides the student with opportunities for the development and implementation of comprehensive projects that demonstrate advanced professional knowledge and practice.

ECE4070 / Foundations of Working with Children with Special Needs
This module is designed for those requiring specialized skills in the care and guidance of working with children who require additional support. Students will explore the selection and use of appropriate assessment materials and intervention techniques for working with children who have special needs. A family-centered approach, which focuses on promoting social interactions among children, will be taken.
ECE4080 / Program Planning for Children with Special Needs
The emphasis of this module is on adaptation of special care needs and curriculum development to the various group care environments. Child development principles will provide the basis for program planning and implementation.
ECE4091 / Special Needs Practicum

A six-week integrated community based practicum, supervised by a Certified Special Needs Educator with additional observation and evaluation by ECE Faculty from the College. This laboratory course provides the student with opportunities for the development and implementation of comprehensive projects that demonstrate advanced professional knowledge and practice.

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