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Registration for the Winter 2020 semester begins soon.  Watch your email for more details.
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Early Childhood Education (Diploma)

Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 63.0
Length: Four semesters
Campuses: Coquitlam
Credential: Diploma
Admission Type: Limited enrolment
Learning Format: Full-time, Part-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

* 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

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

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

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.

What age group will I be working with?

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.

What is the difference between the certificate and the diploma 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.

Where can I find information about 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.

Where can I do my volunteer hours?

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.

What is a practicum?

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.

How long will it take me to complete my program?

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

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

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?

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.

I have a current criminal record clearance form from my volunteer/work experience. Can I use this to fulfill my requirements for a criminal record check?

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.

How many students are in each class and how many hours of homework are required?

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.

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.

Will having a disability prevent me from taking the program?

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

Where can I go for more information?

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

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 January 28, 2020 COQ room: #Atrium register»
Early Childhood Education (Diploma) Kathleen Tonnesen Kathleen Tonnesen, an Early Childhood Education graduate and artist, is no stranger to starting over. Read story