Earn a diploma in early learning and child care

Program: Early Learning and Child Care Diploma

School:

Locations:

Program length: 1 Year Certificate, 2 Year Diploma

Start date: September

Credentials:

  • Diploma
  • Certificate

Delivery:

  • Full Time
  • Part Time
  • Online
  • Classroom
  • Practicum

Program Description

The two-year Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Diploma program is designed to prepare students to become educators of young children in a variety of early learning settings, including community early learning centres, home day cares, Head Start programs, and Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with families, community stakeholders and other professionals to support children’s learning and development.

Emphasis in the program is on the development of inclusive play-based curriculum for children from birth to age 11 with a focus on adapting Indigenous languages, cultures and traditions across the entire curriculum core and delivery model. Students benefit from opportunities to observe the application of best practices and to apply their knowledge in real-world settings as they participate in field placements.

First year courses will allow students to develop a grounding in general early childhood care and learning principles so that graduates can function as assistants in any early childhood setting with moderate support.

Second year courses will help students to develop the knowledge, experience and confidence to function independently as classroom leads in an early childhood setting, with minimal to no additional support required by employers outside of the normal organizational policies and procedures.

The Early Learning and Child Care program is designed to be flexible and accessible. It can be taken full-time onsite or part-time through distance learning. The curriculum was developed to be reflective of the needs of the community. The part-time distance delivery is set up to meet the needs of working Early Learning professionals as well as non-professionals who may want to increase their knowledge and skills through individual courses.

Program Eligibility

Applicants may be admitted into the Early Learning and Child Care program based on one of the following pathways: academic, previous early childhood studies, or mature student/experiential pathways.

Academic Pathway

Applicants may be considered for admission who have:

  • A passing grade in English 10-2

Applicants who have completed the Aurora College Occupations and College Access Program (OCAP) in the Early Learning and Child Care Pathway may also be considered for admission if they have:

  • A passing grade in English 140

Equivalencies and other post-secondary education may be considered.

Previous Early Childhood Studies

Applicants who have previously completed courses or programs successfully through Aurora College or other post-secondary institutions will be considered for admission. Students who have successfully completed part-time courses in the Aurora College Early Childhood Development or Early Learning and Child Care program will be considered for admission.

All credit courses leading to the completion of either the ELCC, or the former ECD program certificate must have been taken within ten years of the date of issuance of the College certification. Students or applicants who apply to the ELCC Program with previous courses dated prior to 2017 should consult with the Registrar for clarification on whether or not these courses can be accepted.

Mature Student/Experiential Pathway

Applicants who are 20 years or older, have been out of school for at least one year, and have relevant work/life experience such as working in the early childhood field may be considered for admission on an individual basis. Eligibility for the program may be determined through an interview and a placement test or other assessment of written communication. The applicant may be required to submit a resume or other evidence of relevant work/life experience. Knowledge of an Indigenous language and culture may be considered an asset for admission.

Regardless of the pathway for admission, all applicants must submit:

  • Official transcripts from high school and post-secondary education, as applicable.
  • One letter of interest written by the applicant that demonstrates their interest and experience in a career in the early child care and education field.
  • Two letters of reference which demonstrate initiative, a positive attitude, and a genuine interest in working with young children
  • A satisfactory* Criminal Records and Vulnerable Sector Check
  • A copy of immunization records showing proof of compliance with the NWT Immunization Schedule published by the Department of Health and Social Services, and evidence of tuberculosis screening (per GNWT Child Day Care Standards Regulation).

* A record of certain offences may prevent candidates from completing all elements of the program, in particular, working with children, securing work practicum placements (see Aurora College Policy C.21 Practicums/Internships). As the program is experientially based, including embedded work with young children, a satisfactory Criminal Records and Vulnerable Sector Check is mandatory for admission to the program.

Depending on the applicant’s pathway, they may be requested to submit:

  • A resume or other evidence of relevant work/life experience.
  • Evidence of knowledge of an Indigenous language or culture.

Applicant Assessment

Applicants will be admitted based on the program’s eligibility requirements/pathways, the applicant’s interview and written assessment, space availability, and whether they display initiative, a positive attitude and a genuine interest in working with young children. Individuals entering the program may come from a broad range of social development fields or be interested in healthy child development.

Students who have completed the Aurora College Early Childhood Development Certificate may be admitted to the second year of the Early Learning and Child Care Diploma. Students who have successfully completed four part-time courses in the Early Childhood Development or Early Learning and Child Care programs in person or by distance, may be admitted to the program.

Students from other Early Childhood Certificate programs in Canada, seeking entrance into the Diploma program, will be assessed for transfer credit on a course-by-course basis based upon official transcripts and course outlines/syllabi from other Canadian approved post-secondary institutions. Students seeking transfer credit will be required to follow the process defined in Aurora College Policy C.01 Transfer Credit.

Program Admission

Priority may be given to applicants who have successfully completed at least four part-time in-person or distance courses in the Aurora College Early Childhood Development or Early Learning and Child Care program to permit them to complete the certificate and/or diploma requirements.

Additionally, applicants who are currently enroled in the Aurora College Occupations and College Access Program (OCAP) Early Learning and Child Care Pathway at Aurora College will be given priority in the selection process if they have submitted a complete** application before April 1. Priority consideration for admission will not be considered for applications received on or after April 1. Applications will be processed based on the date that their application is complete**.

** A complete application is one in which all required documentation (ex. application, transcripts, letter of reference) and all requested documentation (ex. additional documentation that supports your eligibility that is requested for your application) is received.

Program Information

Transfer Agreements

Most courses completed within this program have transferability to the following post-secondary Early Learning and Child Care programs:

– Yukon University

Employment Options

Students who successfully complete all requirements of year one may be eligible to receive the Early Learning and Child Care Certificate. They can potentially find work in daycare centres, nursery schools, playgroups, or as operators of their own daycare homes, or seek employment with bands, hamlets, municipalities, Regional Health and Social Services, health-related fields, Indigenous organizations, community agencies or the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Students who successfully complete all requirements of year two of the Early Learning and Child Care Diploma can potentially find work as Junior Kindergarten teachers, Aboriginal Head Start teachers, nursery school teachers, managers in daycare centres, playgroups, or seek employment with bands, hamlets, municipalities, Regional Health and Social Services, health-related fields, Aboriginal organizations, community agencies or the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Working titles include daycare worker, childcare teacher, family daycare provider, nursery teacher, special needs worker, Kindergarten assistant or aide, child life worker, early childhood educator, and more. The demand for trained early childhood teachers is great and is connected to many leadership roles.

Pre-Requisite/Co-Requisite Requirements

Course pre- or co-requisite requirements may be waived in exceptional circumstances. Permission must be granted by the Chair, School of Education, or designate, who will consult with the course instructor.

Program Objectives

The two-year Early Learning and Child Care Diploma Program is designed to prepare students to become educators of young children in a variety of early childhood settings, including community early learning centres, home day cares, head start programs, and Junior-Kindergarten/Kindergarten teachers. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with families, community stakeholders and other professionals to support children’s learning and development. Emphasis is on the development of inclusive play-based curriculum for children from birth to age 11 with a focus on adapting Indigenous languages, cultures and traditions across the entire curriculum core and delivery models. Students benefit from opportunities to observe the application of best practices and to apply their knowledge in real-world settings as they participate in field placements.

The Early Learning and Child Care Diploma program builds on the success of Aurora College’s face-to-face early childhood development program offerings. The two-year ELCC Diploma program is designed to enable graduates to:

  1. Improve the level of care and education to children from birth to 11 years of age with a focus on the critical developmental years from birth to six years of age;
  2. Enhance the preservation and promotion of Indigenous cultures, languages and traditional values;
  3. Support families in their search for high quality early learning and child care services to promote the well-being of their children while they work or go to school;
  4. Improve the developmental outcomes of children whose social, emotional and academic future may be compromised, thereby improving children’s academic outcomes and future wages, reducing income inequality and assisting in bringing many families out of poverty;
  5. Increase employment opportunities through both the development of trained professionals who can fill the demand for new educators, as well as the provision of supervision and care services that enable parents, especially women wishing to enter the workforce, to contribute to the GNWT’s growing economy.

Year one of the ELCC Diploma program will provide students with a grounding in general early childhood care and learning principles so that graduates can function as assistants in any early childhood setting with moderate support.

At the completion of year one, the student will be able to:

  • Recognize and describe normal patterns of growth and development in infants, toddlers, preschoolers and young school-age children;
  • Plan safe and appropriate living and playing environments for children in group care;
  • Set up and maintain a secure, healthy home daycare environment for young children;
  • Develop and practise the skills necessary for the operation and management of home child care;
  • Understand and implement GNWT Legislation and standards for family home care, including First Aid and CPR;
  • Be knowledgeable of basic child health and safety practices and promote them;
  • Support healthy children by identifying, developing and designing appropriate programs and services;
  • Recognize that traditional knowledge, languages and values are important for the growth and development of healthy children;
  • Understand the skills for working with families and building strong centre-home ties;
  • Be knowledgeable of needs identification and intervention techniques;
  • Learn about the various agencies, their roles, responsibilities and the partnerships which exist at the local, regional, territorial, national and international levels; and
  • Develop appropriate communication skills (facilitation, counselling, report and letter writing) and use problem-solving strategies.

Upon successful completion of the second year of the ELCC Diploma program, graduates will have the knowledge, experience and confidence to function independently as classroom leads in any early childhood setting, with minimal to no additional support required by employers outside of the normal organizational policies and procedures. This would include the advanced ability to:

  • Design and implement high quality care and learning curriculum programs and pedagogies for children birth to eleven years of age and their families, with a special focus on the foundational years of birth to six;
  • To creatively administer these programs so as to preserve and promote Indigenous languages, cultures and traditional knowledge;
  • Establish and maintain inclusive early learning environments that support diverse, equitable and accessible developmental and learning opportunities for all children and their families;
  • Establish and maintain responsive relationships with individual children, groups of children, families, colleagues and community partners;
  • Assess, develop and maintain safe, healthy and quality early learning environments which meet the requirements of current legislation, agency policies and evidence-based practices in early learning;
  • Prepare and use professional written, verbal, nonverbal and electronic communications when working with children, families, colleagues, employers, and community partners;
  • Select and use a variety of screening tools, observation and documentation strategies to review, support and promote children’s learning across the continuum of early childhood development;
  • Design, implement and evaluate inclusive and play-based early learning curriculum and programs that support children’s holistic development and are responsive to individual children’s and groups of children’s observed abilities, interests and ideas;
  • Apply a developing personal philosophy of early learning in accordance with ethical and professional standards of early childhood education practice;
  • Advocate for quality early learning environments and collaborate with members of the early learning team, families and community partners to establish and promote such settings;
  • Engage in reflective practice, develop learning goals and maintain an ongoing professional development plan in accordance with evidence-based practices in early learning and related fields.

Completion Requirements

Students may exit the face-to-face diploma program with either a one-year Certificate or two-year diploma.

Early Learning and Child Care Certificate completion

Students must successfully complete the required 34 credits of course work. Students admitted to the program PRIOR to July 1, 2017, will be required to meet the Certificate course completion requirements identified in the approved Early Childhood Development program outline signed by the President, Aurora College, in November 2014.

Early Learning and Child Care Diploma completion
Students must successfully complete a certificate year and the required 37 credits of course work identified in the diploma year (Program 140, 200 level courses).

Document of Recognition

Aurora College Early Learning and Child Care Certificate
Aurora College Early Learning and Child Care Diploma