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Main Programs and Courses Teaching Education Programs Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

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

Early Childhood Education (ECE)


The first years of a child’s education are among the most important for their growth and development. Early childhood educators are responsible for shaping the minds of these young individuals, and the study of early childhood education teaches the profound impact educators have on the development of children.


As an early childhood educator, you will plan, organize, and implement programs for children between the ages of infancy and 12 years.


ECE Certificate Program


Vancouver Career College offers an Early Childhood Education (Basic) certificate, which meets the necessary academic requirements to apply to the Early Childhood Educator Registry for provincial certification as an early childhood educator (ECE) in British Columbia.


This ECE certificate covers ECE courses in learning through play, art and creative development, communication and interpersonal relationships, science and math, daycare administration, and more.

Before graduation students will practice what they have learned during a practicum placement. (Must be completed in British Columbia)


Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to work as an early childhood educator, daycare worker, preschool supervisor, and more.



Admissions Requirements

  • High school graduation or equivalent* OR mature student status**

*From an English language teaching institution.
**19 years of age upon starting classes, and pass college’s English admissions test.

Administrative Requirements

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


(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: 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

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 approved through the ECE registry of British Columbia

Individuals who have successfully completed Basic Early Childhood Education training through a recognized educational institution in British Columbia may apply to the BC Early Childhood Educator (ECE) for certification as a Basic Early Childhood Educator (ECE) or as an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA). Contact the Early Childhood Educator Registry for details of the application process at 1.888.338.6622 or visit their website.

This program is 44 weeks in length.
  • Daycare supervisor
  • Daycare worker
  • Early childhood educator
  • Early childhood educator assistant
  • Early childhood program staff assistant 
  • Early childhood supervisor 
  • Preschool helper 
  • Preschool supervisor 
  • Daycare teacher 
  • Daycare helper 
  • Early childhood education worker

Hear from an Early Childhood Education grad

Takiya Lee discusses how the Vancouver Career College program changed her life.

Program Courses
SSS4 / Student Success Strategies

Students will gain a better understanding of themselves through an exploration of their personal attributes, transferable skills and learning styles. This course will introduce techniques for time, conflict, and stress management and develop interpersonal communication skills. Fundamental study and motivation skills will be covered, preparing students to excel in their program of choice. Students will also prepare a professional resume and learn how to write effective cover letters.

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”.

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