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Early Childhood Education (Diploma)

Applications to Fall closed Applications to this program for the Fall semester are currently closed. Please check the "offered" field below for the next available intake.
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 63.0
Length: Four semesters
Campuses: Coquitlam
Credential: Diploma
Learning Format: Full-time
Offered: Fall
program overview
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Diploma Program prepares students to become qualified Early Childhood Educators who contribute to the well-being of children, families and their community. The program integrates theoretical material with laboratory and practicum experience to give graduates the skills and knowledge to work with newborns through to children eight years of age. Students learn to assess and guide child development, promote health and nutrition, communicate and collaborate with children and caregivers, and manage a child care setting. 

To qualify for an ECE Diploma, students must first complete the requirements for their basic certificate. They may then choose to go on to complete additional courses to qualify for a Special Needs certificate. The combination of these two becomes the Diploma program.

Graduates of the Diploma program are qualified to apply for two provincial licences to practice as Early Childhood Educators and Special Needs Educators. Additonally, graduates may also choose to return for a post-diploma Certificate in Infant and Toddler Care, and then apply for a third provincial licence as an Infant/Toddler Educator.

curriculum framework

Semester I

Course Title Credits
CFCS 1110 Introduction to Community 3
ECED 1100 Growth and Development: Infants and Toddlers (Introduction) 3
ECED 1121 or CFCS 1160 Transforming Teaching: Observing and Documenting the Learning and Care of Infants and Toddlers 3
ECED 1122 Health, Safety and Nutrition in ECE Settings 1.5
CMNS 1110 or ENGL 1130 Workplace Writing for CFCS Academic Writing 3
    13.5

* Students may take ECED 1121 or CFCS 1160 but may not receive credit for both courses.

Semester II

CFCS 1221 Wellness: Self and Professional Practice 1.5
ECED 1200 Growth and Development: Preschool Years 3
ECED 1211 Professional Growth and Communication 3
ECED 1220 Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programs for Pre-School Children 3
ECED 1231 ECE Curriculum I 3
ECED 1282 ECE Practicum I 3.5
    17

Semester III

ECED 2300 Growth and Development: Early School Years 3
ECED 2312 Perspectives on Families 1.5
ECED 2320 Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programs for Young Children 3
ECED 2331 ECE Curriculum II 3
ECED 2382 ECE Practicum II 3.5
ECED 2330 Change and Development: Families 1.5
    15.5

Students are required to achieve a "C" grade or better in the courses ECED 2300 and ECED 2312 before they will be permitted to register in fourth semester ECE courses.

Semester IV - Special Needs (Inclusive Practices)

CFCS 2410 Advanced Issues: Reflection and Integration 3
ECED 2412 Administrative Skills for ECE Centres 3
ECED 2401 Advanced Growth and Development 3
ECED 2450 Inclusion in Early Childhood Settings 3
ECED 2483 Demonstration Laboratory: Special Needs Project Practicum 5
    17

Students must achieve a "C" grade or better in all fourth semester ECE courses requiring a letter grade in order to receive an ECE Diploma.

After completion of Diploma requirements, the student may return for an additional post-diploma certificate by completing the remaining Infant/Toddler courses.

Prior ECE Certification 

Douglas College students who completed their certificates under a previous model may "bridge" into the new diploma program by completing three credits of course work in each of the three areas of study shown below:

  1. CFCS 1110 Introduction to the Professional Community (3 credits)
  2. CFCS 1221 Wellness: Self and Professional Practice (1.5 credits); CFCS 1130 Change and Development: Lifespan; CFCS 1262 Community Practice: School-Based; or ECED 1100 Growth and Development: Infants and Toddlers (Intro) (3 credits)
  3. ECED 2330 Change and Development: Families; and ECED 2312 Perspectives on Families in ECE settings (1.5 Credits each)

Students may then complete the Special Needs (Inclusive Practices) courses offered in semester IV. Students with ECE Certificates from other programs should consult the Program Coordinator for advice and assistance with course planning.

career transfer pathways
Graduates of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Diploma Program qualify to apply for two provincial licences to practice as Early Childhood Educators and Special Needs Educators. Graduates may also choose to return for a post-diploma Certificate in Infant and Toddler Care, and then apply for a third provincial licence as an Infant/Toddler Educator.  

University Transfer

Graduates may apply to receive transfer credit to the Bachelor in Child and Youth Care at Douglas College, University of Victoria, University of the Fraser Valley, or Vancouver Island University. They may also apply for transfer credit to the University of Calgary’s Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation (BCR). Douglas College ECE Diploma students may transfer credits to the Bachelor of General Studies (Education) at Simon Fraser University or the Bachelor of Arts in Early Years Education, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Students may transfer all ECE credits from the Basic and Post-Basic programs to the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Capilano University. 

Consult the B.C. Transfer Guide for extensive transfer agreements with public post-secondary institutions offering ECE in B.C.
admission requirements
  • General College Admission Requirements.
  • Applicants who have completed 9 or more post-secondary credits must be in good academic standing (with a minimum GPA of 1.5) for admission to any CFCS program.
  • Students must be age 18 by December 31st of the year they enter the program.
  • Successfully participate in a formal orientation and selection process to determine suitability and readiness for training. Suitability is determined on the basis of an overview of an applicant's emotional stability, physical health, formal education, the ability to work in a team setting and life experience.
  • At the time of the required ECE Program Orientation Session two letters of reference from individuals who are not related to you (character references from reputable community members and/or individuals familiar with your experience in working with young children). Reference letters should not be written by the person who completes your volunteer verification form. If you have an ECE basic license to practice, you would complete a work history form which includes references.
  • Complete and show evidence of 50 hours of supervised volunteer or work experience in a ECE-related setting. Preferred experience: work with children from birth to age six. The 50 hours documentation of volunteer or work experience must be complete and submitted before the time of the personal suitability interview. Your readiness to enrol in the program will be determined by the faculty selection team based upon specific criteria.
  • Attend and participate in a personal interview with ECE faculty.
  • Complete a Criminal Record Check (information will be provided by the Office of the Registrar).
  • Complete a medical declaration or assessment indicating a satisfactory level of physical and emotional health. The workload of the programs and the close contact with individuals in practical settings require students to be in good mental and physical health.

While a student may be admitted to the part-time program, course registration is dependent on seat availability.

Preferential Admissions
Admission to programs within the Faculty of Child, Family and Community Studies is contingent upon availability of seats and applicant ranking as determined by a process of selective admission evaluation. 

To be considered for a seat in the program, applicants must meet all admission criteria. The selective admission process uses a structured format to evaluate all applicants in relation to the admission criteria established for the program. 

Following this review, applicants are ranked according to the degree to which they have met the admission criteria and their demonstration of communication skills, motivation to enter the program and knowledge of the demands of the profession. 

NOTE: Applicants are advised to meet all admission criteria as early as possible to demonstrate preparedness and motivation for obtaining a seat in the program.

program cost

You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

curriculum guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

With what age-group will I be working?

ECE practitioners work with children from birth to eight years of age. The ECE Program focuses on this age-group.

How do the full-time and part-time programs differ?

In the full-time program:

  • you will take five or six courses each semester
  • the first three semesters are day classes, some diploma courses are held in the evening in the fourth term
  • certificate work can be completed in three semesters and diplomas completed in four semesters
  • you are guaranteed a seat in each course for the first three semesters
  • all courses are offered at the Coquitlam Campus

In the part-time program:

  • you will take the same courses as the full-time students over a three year schedule
  • courses are held in the evening or on Saturdays, during the day
  • you will take approximately half of the full-time course load
  • you will graduate in three to four years, depending on your course load
  • all courses are offered at the Coquitlam Campus
  • the entrance requirements are the same as for the full-time program

Can I receive credit for work experience?

If you have skills and knowledge that apply to early childhood education, the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Service (PLAR) can help you identify, document and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities you have acquired on the job (workplace learning) or through life experiences.

Once your learning in a particular field of study is identified and documented, you may apply to have your knowledge, skills and abilities assessed for possible academic credit.

For information on ECE PLAR contact Zebeen Panju, 604-527-5163, panjuz@douglascollege.ca.

Explain the work experience requirements and how they differ?

50 hours of volunteer or paid work experience

Before entering the ECE program you are required to complete 50 hours of paid or volunteer work experience with groups of children between birth and eight years of age. This requirement serves two purposes:

  • It gives you the opportunity to assess your interest in pursuing this program by acquainting you with some of the realities of working in the field of early childhood education.
  • It gives your work supervisor(s), through the letter of reference, an opportunity to comment on your personal suitability and potential for training in early childhood education.

500 hours of work experience

When you apply for your provincial licences after receiving your diploma, you must provide evidence of 500 hours of work experience, either paid or volunteer. Practicums do not count towards these hours. The Ministry of Children and Family Development - Child Care branch has details for early childhood educators about the work experience licence requirement.

Where can I do my work experience hours?

You can work anywhere that there are children - we want to make sure that you know what it's like to work with groups of children and are familiar with the activities, noise, stress, excitement of fun that this work entails. Your work experience can be in a parks and recreation program, a preschool, sunday school, kindergarten, family daycare or a combination of any of these.

What is a practicum?

Practicums are part of the ECE program. You'll be placed in child care centres and preschools and given assignments to complete. You are expected to practice the knowledge and skills learned in other courses, participate in a comprehensive evaluation, and will receive a (Mastery or Non-Mastery) grade at completion.

Note: practicum hours cannot be included as part of the 500 hours of work experience required of ECE graduates by the provincial government for a licence to practice.

How long will it take me to complete my program?

Full-time students can complete their diplomas in two years, while part-time students can complete the program in four years.

Students in the full-time program can also complete their certificates in less time by attending two consecutive fall semesters and one winter semester. There are limited course offerings in the summer.

Can I transfer my ECE Certificate from another post-secondary institution and complete an ECE Diploma at Douglas College?

Students with ECE Certificates from early childhood education programs approved by the Child Care branch (Ministry of Children and Family Development) can transfer 30 credits toward their Douglas College ECE Diploma.

Can I get university transfer credit for my Diploma?

Your Douglas College ECE diploma will transfer to several other post-secondary institutions. See the Career Pathways tab for more detail.

What kind of work will I be eligible to do when I graduate from the program?

Certificate and Diploma graduates will be eligible to work in provincially licensed preschool and child care centres once they become Registered Early Childhood Educators.

Diploma graduates who have completed the Infant/Toddler Stream will be eligible to work in provincially licensed infant and toddler centres as Registered Infant/Toddler Educators.

Diploma graduates who have completed the Special Needs Stream will be eligible to work as Special Needs Educators.

Some of our graduates work in preschool recreation programs. Other students open Family Child Care Centres.

Can I work in child care centres before completing my Diploma?

Yes, students who have been accepted into the ECE Program and are taking courses each semester can be hired in child care centres as assistants after completion of specified courses. We strongly recommend that full time students do not work more than a few hours a week during a semester of studies.

Are graduates required to register with provincial licensing (Child Care branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development) before working in child care centres?

Yes, completion of a program in Early Childhood Education from Douglas College is the first step in becoming a Certified Early Childhood Educator in British Columbia.

Licence requirements can be found at the Child Care branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Where can I go for more information?

Full & part-time program: ECE Instructional Facilitator, Zebeen Panju, 604-527-5163 or panjuz@douglascollege.ca

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: PLAR Facilitator, Kathy Price, 604-527-5481, or pricek@douglascollege.ca

Post-Basic, Re-entry students, ECE Registry referrals: ECE Program Coordinator, Kathy Price, pricek@douglascollege.ca

tuition deposit

When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required. 

upcoming info sessions
Tuesday 5:00 PM September 12, 2017 COQ room: #A1470 register»
Tuesday 5:00 PM October 10, 2017 COQ room: #A1470 register»
Tuesday 5:00 PM November 07, 2017 COQ room: #A1470 register»
Tuesday 5:00 PM December 05, 2017 COQ room: #A1470 register»
Early Childhood Education (Diploma) Kathleen Tonnesen Kathleen Tonnesen, an Early Childhood Education graduate and artist, is no stranger to starting over. Read more