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Early childhood education

Program Overview

“A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.”
Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)

“Did you know that 90% of what you will learn in your entire life is learned between birth and the age of six years? Early childhood education provides an amazing opportunity to mold and shape the minds of children, instilling a life-long love of learning, passion for knowledge, and values that will truly make a difference in our world. Children are our future, and the rewards that come with prioritizing these fundamental years are unsurpassed!”

Cari Shorrock, Associate Director of Wind & Tide Preschools


Early Childhood Education is an exciting and rewarding profession. There is a great demand across British Columbia for qualified and dedicated Early Childhood Educators that can provide superior care and education for children from birth to school age.

At Stenberg College, we believe that children learn through play and that they must be free to choose what they want to do in an environment that is safe and stimulating. When Early Childhood Educators support this play in a warm and nurturing manner, children’s development is enhanced in all aspects. Stenberg College is committed to developmentally appropriate practices, and culturally sensitive and inclusive childcare.

Stenberg College offers the following Early Childhood Education Program options:

  • Early Childhood Educator / Preschool Teacher Certificate Program (Full time, 46 weeks)
  • Early Childhood Educator / Preschool Teacher & Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs
  • Early Childhood Educator Program (Full Time, 74 weeks)
  • Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs Early Childhood Educator Program (Full Time, 28 weeks)
  • Post-Basic Infant Toddler Early Childhood Educator Program (Full Time, 18 weeks)

Our programs are offered in a variety of learning formats. The Certificate level program (Early Childhood Educator/Preschool Teacher) is offered as a classroom-based program, with both a Monday-Friday program schedule and an evenings and weekend program schedule. The Diploma level (Post Basic Programs) are offered via instructor-facilitated online learning in combination with a one day/week classroom session. Integrated observations and practical field work is a component of all programs.

Please continue reading. You’ll find everything you need to know about developing your career as an Early Childhood Educator…

Early Childhood Educator Role

Early Childhood Educators plan, organize and lead activities for preschool children to encourage their intellectual, physical, emotional, social, linguistic and cultural growth. They support young children’s early learning and development by providing rich
experiences in the areas of well being and belonging, exploration and creativity,
language and literacies, social responsibility and diversity. As stated in the British Columbia Early Learning Framework, “[by] providing children with rich experiences in these four areas, early childhood educators, early years’ professionals, service providers, families, and communities can support children to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are the foundation for lifelong learning in a complex and changing society.”

With additional coursework, the Post Basic Diploma program graduates are prepared to care for infants and toddlers, to provide support to children with exceptionalities and to handle a wider range of administrative and supervisory responsibilities.

Potential Employers

As an Early Childhood Educator, you could work in a:

  • Profit or Non-Profit Childcare Centre
  • Parent Participation Preschool
  • Private Nursery School
  • Inclusive Childcare Preschool
  • Before & After School Care Centre
  • Group Daycare
  • Family Daycare
  • Child Minding Services

Those with post-basic education are eligible for positions including:

  • Manager/ Director/ Supervisor of Child Development Centres
  • Infant Toddler Educator/ Consultant
  • Special Needs Educator/ Supported Childcare Consultant

In addition to the full-time work, there are opportunities for part-time and self-employment (i.e. owning and operating your own licensed childcare centre) within the field of Early Childhood Education.

Credit Transfer

Stenberg College participates with other recognized B.C. post-secondary institutions in a credit transfer arrangement that allows for increased transparency and student success for those in the field of Early Learning and care studies. Formalized credit transfer agreements are in place with other post-secondary institutions offering programs in Early Childhood Education to allow our students with options should they choose to continue their academic studies towards degree programs or need re-locate within the province. In order to receive a Stenberg College program certificate or diploma, the residency requirement is a minimum of 50% of course load be completed at Stenberg College.

Wages and Career Outlook

The employment market for Early Childhood Educators is strong and growing due to increased funding for childcare in public settings. Plus, the federal government is committed to providing a universal childcare system.

The related national occupation classification number—a system used to group and survey jobs—for Early Childhood Educators is 4214. Keep in mind that these figures are based on groupings of a large number of related jobs. The wages and career outlook may differ due to your education level, job location and the type of employer you work for.

If you’d like to obtain more information about the career outlook for Early Childhood Educators, visit:

Program Goals

The goals of the Stenberg College ECE Programs are to enable our graduates to:

1 Acquire the required academic knowledge, skills and abilities as set forward by the Childcare Sector Occupational Competencies
2 Qualify for Basic and/or Post-Basic licensing with B.C.’s Early Childhood Educator Registry
3 Gain employment in the field within 6 months (or less) of graduation

ECE/Preschool Teacher Program Objective – Basic (Certificate Level)

  • To assist students with learning how to represent the holistic nature of early childhood care by examining children’s social, physical, intellectual, emotional and cultural dimensions
  • To help students become aware of their abilities, values, beliefs, and interpersonal skills in order to determine their needs for growth and development
  • To identify the scope and limits of the caregiver’s roles within an early childhood environment, recognizing the importance of sensitivity and respect for the primary role of parents, family and the community
  • To provide students with the skill and understanding needed to build respectful and democratic relationships with children, families, co-workers, colleagues and the larger community
  • To apply principles of a working philosophy to each student’s work with children
  • To help students promote children’s overall learning based on knowledge of child development and observation
  • To enhance our students’ ability to make connections between theory and practice and to be able to articulate them
  • To develop attitudes of acceptance and respect towards individual and family diversity
  • To develop an awareness of emerging issues and research in the field of early childhood
  • To communicate the importance of collaborating and networking with other professionals and agencies on an ongoing basis in order to enhance overall growth and development in childcare programs
  • To show students how to advocate the needs of young children to the larger community
  • To develop students’ ethical, professional behaviour and commitment to continuing
  • To provide students with a clear understanding of the Ministry of Health licensing regulations

ECE Infant Toddler & Special Education Program Objective – Post-Basic (Diploma) Level

  • To provide students with the foundational knowledge to understand typical and atypical physical, social, emotional, cognitive and linguistic development of infants and toddlers
  • To enable students to plan and evaluate inclusive and developmentally appropriate programs for infants and toddlers
  • To provide students with the skills to select and apply appropriate guidance strategies
  • To teach students how to effectively implement best practice principles and current government childcare related policies
  • To empower students with an understanding of the different program models and best practice approaches to working with children with special needs
  • To ensure students provide care in a manner which recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each child and is sensitive to both their cultural safety and diversity
  • To enable students to collaborate effectively with families of infants, toddlers and children requiring additional support to provide and facilitate opportunities for family involvement in policy and programming decisions
  • To ensure students know how to create and maintain safe and healthy environments for infants, toddlers and children with exceptionalities
  • To provide students with the requisite skills and abilities to author appropriate and legislatively compliant childcare facility policies and procedures
  • To further develop students’ professional accountability and ethical behaviour when working with vulnerable individuals

Is This Program for You?

It is if you:

1 Find it rewarding to help children learn and grow
2 Are looking for a career offering stability and good working conditions
3 Have an interest in helping others
4 Are flexible and adaptable
5 Have patience
6 Have compassion

Program Delivery Format

This program is delivered in a classroom-based format.

Program Admission Requirements

ECE / Preschool Teacher (Certificate):

  • Completion of Grade 12 or 19 years of age or older
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination
  • Passing formal entrance interview with a score of 70% or more
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Passing Verbal Test of English if English is a Second Language
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:Students must provide the following to their Program Advisor prior to program start:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

Program Advisors will work with students to obtain the following:

  • Proof of 50 hours of volunteer work with children aged 3-5
  • Reference letter stating suitability to work with children

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; students will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements

Infant Toddler / Special Needs ECE (Post Basic Diploma)

  • Successful completion of the ECE Basic (Certificate) level program.
  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act

Duration and Financing


  • Early Childhood Educator / Preschool Teacher Program – 46 weeks full time
  • Early Childhood Educator / Preschool Teacher & Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs
  • Early Childhood Educator Program – 74 weeks full time
  • Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs Early Childhood Educator Program – 28 weeks full time
  • Post-Basic Infant Toddler Early Childhood Educator Program – 18 weeks full time

Financing: You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans as well as other financing options; the Stenberg College Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

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