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Early Childhood Education Program

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

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:

Collaborative Approach

Our Early Childhood Education program is run off-site in collaboration with a childcare centre allowing you to observe theory in practice. This gives you regular opportunities to practice learned skills which will better prepare you for your work in the field.

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 Program Learning Outcomes – Basic (Certificate) Level

Upon completion of the Stenberg College Early Childhood Education Program, you will be able to:

  • Represent the holistic nature of early childhood care by examining children’s social, physical, intellectual, emotional and cultural dimensions.
  • Be aware of your abilities, values, beliefs, and interpersonal skills in order to determine your needs for growth and development.
  • 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.
  • Build respectful and democratic relationships with children, families, co-workers, colleagues and the larger community.
  • Apply principles of a working philosophy to your work with children.
  • Promote an attitude that work with young children is a process of life-long learning where one continuously investigates and seeks information about how to be most effective.
  • Prepare students to provide a healthy and safe environment for children.
  • Promote children’s overall learning based on knowledge of child development and observation.
  • Make connections between theory and practice and to be able to articulate them.
  • Develop attitudes of acceptance and respect towards individual and family diversity.
  • Develop an awareness of emerging issues and research in the field of early childhood education.
  • 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.
  • Advocate the needs of young children to the larger community.
  • Develop ethical and professional behaviour and commit to continuing professionalism.
  • Outline the Ministry of Health licensing regulations.

ECE Program Learning Outcomes – Post-Basic (Diploma) Level

Upon completion of the Stenberg College Early Childhood Education Post-Basic Program, you will be able to:

  • Describe typical and atypical physical, social, emotional, cognitive and linguistic development of infants and toddlers.
  • Plan and evaluate inclusive and developmentally appropriate programs for infants and toddlers.
  • Select and apply appropriate guidance strategies when caring for toddlers.
  • Implement best practice principles and current government childcare related policies.
  • Describe historical perspectives and development of the field of Special Education.
  • Differentiate between program models and best practice approaches to working with children with special needs.
  • Provide care in a manner which recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each child and is sensitive to both their cultural safety and diversity.
  • 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.
  • Create and maintain safe and healthy environments for infants, toddlers and children with exceptionalities.
  • Author appropriate and legislatively compliant childcare facility policies and procedures.
  • Develop your 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

Our programs are offered in a variety of delivery methods.

The Certificate level program (Basic) is offered as a classroom based program over 46-weeks (full-time). The first course, Orientation & Student Success Skills, provides an important opportunity for you, faculty, and administration to meet each other and to get a comprehensive overview of your program.

You will spend the next 37-weeks completing 14 theory courses. During this time you will complete a one-week Career Search Strategies course which is delivered in a combined delivery format. Portions of this course will be delivered online, using Moodle as the online learning platform, as well as face-to-face for the interview portion of the course. Throughout the theory portion of this program you will also complete a number of off-site observations at various child care sites.

Following the theory portion of the program, you will complete 2, 4-week Practicum experiences followed by a 1-day program debrief and celebration.

The Post-Basic Diploma level program is offered with instructor-guided online learning using Moodle as the learning platform, and weekly classroom-based sessions. In the Post-Basic Infant Toddle and Special Needs program you will complete 6 theory courses in a combined online and classroom-based delivery format followed by a 6-week Infant Toddler Practicum, followed by 2 more theory courses delivered in a combined delivery format, followed by a final 6-week Special Needs Practicum experience.

Program Admission Requirements

ECE / Preschool Teacher (Certificate):

  • Completion of Grade 12 or 19 years of age or older
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination
  • 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 – 74 weeks full time
  • Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs Early Childhood Educator Program – 28 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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