Early Childhood Education (Diploma)

Applied Community Studies
Early Childhood Education
Length of Program
Four semesters
Credential Type
Learning Format
Admission Type
Open Enrolment - Additional Admission Requirements


Combining a certificate in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate in Special Needs, the Diploma in Early Childhood Education qualifies you to apply for two provincial licenses to practice as both an Early Childhood Educator and a Special Needs Educator. You’ll be prepared to work in provincially licensed preschool and child-care centres. Plus, all courses are offered online so you can learn when it's convenient for you.

A practical education

Apply theory to reality through a practicum in an early childhood education setting, and work with children from newborns to eight years old both individually and in groups. You’ll learn how to manage a child-care setting, guide child development, communicate and collaborate with children and caregivers, and promote health and nutrition.  

As a part of the Early Childhood Education program, you’ll participate in a unique learning experience with our Children Teaching Teachers method courses, where children are put in the role of teacher in this innovative form of experiential learning. 

Further studies

Additionally, graduates may also choose to return for a post-diploma Certificate in Infant and Toddler Care, and then apply for a third provincial license as an Infant/Toddler Educator.

If you’re interested in furthering your education, this credential transfers directly into the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care at Douglas. Your credential may also transfer to early childhood education programs at other post-secondary institutions. Visit the B.C. Transfer Guide and your transfer university’s website regularly to confirm which courses transfer.

Job opportunities

Between now and 2031, over 12,410 early childhood educator job openings are projected in B.C. Surveys show that 93 percent of our Child and Youth Care degree graduates are working in the field after graduation. (Source: B.C. Student Outcomes).

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

  • General College Admission Requirements
  • Be age 18 by December 31st of the year you enter the program.
  • Suitability is determined on the basis of an overview of an applicant's mental health, physical health, formal education, the ability to work in a team setting and life experience, as demonstrated in the following.
    • 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 a Criminal Record Check (information will be provided by Enrolment Services).
    • 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.
  • 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 ACS program.


Calculate your tuition and see the approximate cost of taking your program at Douglas College with the tuition & fee estimator. See costs broken down into categories including tuition fees, textbooks, student activity fees, U-Pass and more. 

For more information, refer to the tuition fee charts

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Students are not permitted to use credits earned from the Diploma in Early Childhood Education towards the Certificate in Early Childhood Education: Special Needs - Inclusive Practices
  • Successful completion of 60 credits
  • 50% (30 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College.
  • In good academic standing
  • Time limit to complete the program graduation requirements: 7 years. Any courses completed outside of that time limit will not be usable. Students may seek the permission of the Department/Program to complete a credential outside the approved time limits.

Course Requirements (see notes 1-4):

Course Number Course Title Credits
Semesters 1 and 2
ECED 1155 Introduction to Early Childhood Education 1.50
ECED 1241 Positive Guidance in Early Childhood Programs 3.00
ECED 1125 Promoting Healthy Practices in Early Childhood Education 3.00
ECED 1200 Growth and Development: Preschool Years 3.00
ECED 1211 Professional Growth and Communication 3.00
ECED 1220 Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programmes for Young Children l 3.00
ECED 1231 ECE Curriculum l 3.00
ECED 1285 (see note 4) Early Childhood Education Practicum I   3.00
ECED 1121 Transforming and Teaching: Observing and Documenting the Learning and Care of Young Children 3.00
Select one course from the following two options:
CMNS 1110 Workplace Writing for Applied Community Studies 3.00
ENGL 1130 Academic Writing 3.00
Semester 3
ECED 2305 Change and Development: Birth thru Early School Years 3.00
ECED 2361 Indigenous Worldview and Early Childhood Education 3.00
ECED 2331 ECE Curriculum II       3.00
ECED 2320

Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programmes for Young Children ll

ECED 2385 Early Childhood Education Practicum II   3.00
Semester 4 - Special Needs  
ECED 2315 Working with Families in Early Childhood Education 1.50
ECED 2412 Administrative Skills for ECE Centres 3.00
ECED 2471 Issues and Trends in ECE 3.00
ECED 2401 Advanced Growth and Development: Individual Planning for Children with Diverse Abilities       3.00
ECED 2450 Methods for Inclusive Play-Based Programs for Children with Diverse Abilities  3.00
ECED 2455 Special Needs Preceptorship    3.00

Total Credits



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

2. Douglas College students who completed their certificates under a previous model may "bridge" into the new diploma program by completing ECED 2305 (3 credits), ECED 2361 (3 credits), and ECED 2320  (3 credits).

3. Students with ECE Certificates from other programs should consult the Program Coordinator for advice and assistance with course planning.

4. Students must complete and show evidence of 20 hours of volunteer or work experience in a licensed Early Childhood Education setting with children from birth to age six. The 20 hours documentation of volunteer or work experience form must be complete and submitted prior to enrollment in practicum courses.


Program 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.


ECE practitioners work with children under 8 years of age in the province of BC, in a variety of licensed child care and early learning programs.

The certificate program is embedded in the diploma program. Students enrolled in the diploma program take three semesters of the basic diploma program and upon completion will then take the fourth semester of the post basic program. Students must have completed the basic ECE program before moving into the post basic diploma courses. Students wishing to obtain the ECE Basic certificate can do so by applying to the ECE diploma program and exiting when they have fulfilled the course requirements for the basic certificate, as per the licensing requirements.

The ECED diploma program provides students with the knowledge, competencies and skills that are required to work with children under the age of 6 years in licensed early learning programs. Students in the certificate program are eligible to apply to the ECE Registry.

Please refer to the website for the British Columbia ECE registry for further information.

Volunteer hours are accepted if completed in a licensed early childhood program in the province of British Columbia. For suggestions of licensed programs, contact West Coast Child Care Resources and Referral.

Practicums are part of the ECE program and a requirement of licensing. Students will be placed in licensed child care centres and preschools and given assignments to complete. Students 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 license to practice.

Full-time students can complete their diplomas in two years (4 semesters).

Part-time students can complete the program over 3 years (6 semesters).

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.

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

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.

For further information, please see the ECE Registry website.

Once your admissions officer has given you a provisional acceptance into the program, you will receive by email a link to the appropriate criminal record check application. The Ministry of Justice conducts the criminal record checks.

Class size is set at 32 students in the basic, post basic and infant toddler program.

Enrolling in the program requires a commitment to attendance, participation and study. The program is heavy and deadlines are taken seriously. Assignments include individual and group work within the certificate and diploma courses.

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.

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.

If you have a disability please contact Accessibility Services at Douglas College:  

Full and Part-time program: ECE Program Advisor or 604-527-5163

More Information

Tuition Deposit

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

Career Pathways

Career opportunities include:

  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Special Needs Educator
  • Child Development Facilitator 
  • Community Disability Services 
  • Worker Community Support 
  • Worker Early Childhood Educator 
  • Education Coordinator 
  • Educational Assistant 
  • Family and Community Support Worker 
  • Instructional Assistant 
  • Play School Teacher 
  • Teachers Aide/Tutor