Early Childhood Education Diploma

Our ECE Program

The early childhood education (ECE) program is a two-year course (four years if completed through part-time program) which prepares graduates to work in a variety of early learning environments such as preschools, playschools, daycares and pre-primary. Students participating in this program will acquire an understanding of the theories of child development as well as the ability to plan, implement and administer a balanced early learning curriculum. The early childhood education program provides students with a balance of theoretical and practical experiences which give them the opportunity to develop caring, professionalism and integrity in their interactions with children, families and the larger community.

Delivery: 2 years of full-time study or 4 years of part-time study

*Individuals interested in taking select courses and not the complete ECE diploma program must complete sections 1 & 2 on the College application. These students are classified as Professional Development students. 


Courses: Year One

HD100 Human Development: Theories and Trends 

Early childhood educators must understand and appreciate the theories that impact their practice. In this course students will look back and study the historical theories which influence current practice. Students will learn about the ideas of theorists like Freud, Gesell and Piaget. Students will also consider different theories about how children learn as well as the relationship between culture and theories, the relationship between heredity and environment and child development as well as how development across domains is connected. Finally, students will read and reflect upon how current trends like emergent curriculum are related to theories and ideas studied in class.

COM100 Professional Communication 

This course will focus on using proper spelling, grammar and formatting for commonly required communication and documentation in early learning.  Students will practice various types of common communication.  

ECE100 Visual and Tactile Experiences  

Students participating in this course learn to create environments that are aesthetically inviting and encourage children to actively engage in creative endeavours. Topics discussed include children’s artistic development and artistic elements such as line and colour. Students are encouraged to experience art as children do and develop a comfort and aptitude to integrate creative experiences in the early learning environment. 

ECE101 Early Childhood Program Development  

In this course students will focus on building their curriculum toolbox and developing their skills as child-centred and relationship-based educators. They will explore theory and how it is reflected in best practice.  They will also consider and practice how programs are developed through observation and inquiry.  They will reflect on the implementation of programs and the importance of making learning visible through documentation. 

ECE102 Promoting Social and Emotional Competence  

This course gives students a view into the developmental and environmental factors that impact children’s abilities to be socially and emotionally competent.   The primary focus of the course will be the role of the early educator and how he/she will implement positive and proactive strategies to support children’s development of social and emotional competence. 

ECE103 Health and Safety in Early Childhood Settings  

This course is an investigation of the conditions required for maintaining a safe and healthy early childhood environment. Students will review policy and procedure dealing with child abuse, safety and hygiene. Students will discuss how to support emotional well-being in their practice for the educators and families they work with through the Handle with Care Promoting Mental Health in Young Children and the Trauma Sensitive approach. Common childhood diseases and conditions will be studied. All students will receive certification in Emergency First Aid, WHIMIS, and Health and Safety for New Workers. 

COM101 Professional Literature – Students will improve professional research and writing skills by reviewing current literature on a specific topic. They will write summaries using correct grammar, spelling and formatting. Students will review academic library procedures for research purposes. They will develop their analytical and critical thinking skills to find and use credible information sources

ECE104 The Early Childhood Profession – The main focus of this course will be to examine what it means to be a professional early childhood educator.  Students will examine historical roots, as well as, quality, current beliefs and best practices relating to children, families and society.  Policy and supports for children and families in Nova Scotia, Canada, and other jurisdictions will be researched and discussed.

ECE105 The Emergent Classroom – In this course students will take an in-depth look at Emergent Curriculum and how it relates to Nova Scotia’s curriculum framework, “Capable, Confident and Curious”. Students will examine the theories, the principles and how to put those theories and principles into practice. Students will have concrete opportunities to manipulate materials and practice various aspects of program delivery.

ECE106 Nutrition for Young Children – The purpose of this course is to prepare students to be a positive influence on the health of young children through the provision of healthy, safe and economical meals and snacks and nutrition education. Food Safety is integrated into the program.

ECE108 Observation and Documentation – The ability to observe and assess children’s development is a necessary prerequisite to becoming an early childhood professional. In this course, students are introduced to good observational practice as well as methodology. Students will be required to use various tools to document children’s learning and behaviours. The focus will be on the observation of children but staff and environmental observation will also be addressed.

ECE107 Movement and Music Experiences – This course is designed to expose students to the many ways music and movement can be integrated into early learning programs. In addition, students will reflect on and practice ways to incorporate music and movement in Reggio-inspired ways.  Students will build a toolbox of ideas and strategies they may employ in their professional practice. 

Courses: Year Two

HD200 Human Development: Conception to Three – Children and people are fascinating.  Human services professionals are curious about why and what makes children and adults behave as they do. Human services professionals are interested in understanding the behavior of children and how children and adults grow and change throughout their lives. In this course students will be reading, writing and talking about some important and interesting questions regarding the development of children from conception to age three.

ECE200 Play and Learning – Students will examine play and discover the important role it has in the overall development of young children. Students will able to recognize that children learn best in environments where children direct the learning, supported by informed adults who facilitate rather than teach. They will identify that child initiated; free play does indeed build an excellent foundation for current and future learning and success. Students will discuss the role of the early childhood educator in supporting children’s play experiences.

ECE201 Family Engagement Practices – Early childhood educators must understand the value of family in a child’s life in order to work most effectively with the children in their care. The focus of this course is to assist students in building their awareness of the complexities of family life and how they, as professionals, can work most effectively in partnership with families to provide an optimal caring and learning environment for children.

COM200 Professional Research Methods – Early childhood educators need to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of ways. It is also important for educators to be able to evaluate the many sources of information currently available in the field. In this course students will be given the opportunity to explore in-depth a particular topic in early childhood education and prepare a paper and presentation about the chosen topic. Students will learn how to evaluate professional journals, books and internet sites, to collect and organize research materials, write a short paper and present what was learned to the class. The skills and practice students acquire in this class will help future early childhood educators in their professional communication with co – workers, parents, board members, and other professional stake holders.

ECE202 Promoting Inclusion in the Early Years – This course is designed to help students identify their attitudes about inclusion.  Inclusive programs support all children with varying abilities.  This program teaches team building with families, professionals, fellow staff, and the community at large.

ECE203 Child Guidance – In this course students will explore their ideas about behaviour. Students will think about how development has a relationship to behaviour. Students will reflect on those behaviours that cause unhelpful responses. We will focus on how we can prevent and, when needed, best intervene to help children develop the skills they need to function in a way that will work for them and those around them. Students will also look at specific environmental and biological factors that put children at risk for behavioural challenges. Students will focus on positive strategies to support competence development.

HD201 Human Development: Preschool and School Age – This course will examine the development of pre-school and school age children. Students will examine how children’s needs and abilities change as they grow and develop and how teachers must continually observe, document and adapt to support the child’s continued development.

ECE204 Language and Literacy – Students will be introduced to the stages of language development and how they can most effectively foster the development of language, in children, as it emerges. Second language learning will also be addressed. Students will be given many practical methods to assist children in developing good language, early reading, and early writing skills.

ECE205 Skills for Life and Work – This course is designed to facilitate student recognition and examination of various lifestyle issues and the importance of self-care. In addition, students will discuss various professional responsibilities such as working as part of a team, creating budgets, and legal responsibilities pertaining to children and families.

ECE206 Creative Inviting Learning Spaces – In this course students will explore various aspects of creating appropriate environments for young children. Both indoor and outdoor environments will be examined and evaluated. Students will gain an understanding of developmentally appropriate equipment and materials for various age groups. Methods of grouping young children and daily scheduling will also be addressed. Students will analyze the role of an early childhood educator in creating appropriate learning environments, as well as regulatory obligations.

ECE207 Inclusive Practices in the Early Years – During this course students will explore various aspects of working with children who have developmental differences in an inclusive environment. These include sensory regulation, managing behaviors, facilitating motor growth, social and emotional growth, and cognitive growth.  Students will also receive credit for the inclusion training program called Building Blocks.

COM201 Critical Issues – Early childhood educators must be able to communicate clearly and appropriately in a variety of ways. In this course students will be given multiple experiences to develop and improve critical reading and writing skills. Students will also have opportunity to improve interpersonal communication skills of active, empathetic listening and demonstration of respect and sensitivity when differing opinions are expressed. Students will be exploring issues of sexism, gender identity and orientation, classism and cultural identity as they relate to and impact their practice as an early childhood educator.

Information on the 520 hours of practicum requirements can be found on page 14-16 in Student Manual .

Articulation Agreement with Athabasca University & MSVU

Transfer credit awarded toward specific programs. Please contact us for details.