Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certificate

This innovative initiative introduces a hybrid delivery model, providing aspiring educators with essential skills and knowledge for success in the dynamic field of early childhood education. 


Share this program

  Email   Print
Early Childhood Education student sitting on the floor in a classroom


  • Penticton
  • Salmon Arm
View schedule and campus details
  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered



Delivery options


Tuition and fees

2022-23: $6,510.32

Program details

The Early Childhood Education Certificate program prepares students to work with young children in a variety of early learning and care environments. Students will acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work with children, families and the community in planning enriched programs in daycares, preschools and other early childhood initiatives that focus upon healthy development throughout the early years. Content areas include professionalism and practice, personal and interpersonal relationships, child development and planning programs, guidance, administration, and extensive practical application. The curriculum focuses on the interactive role of the early childhood educator with children, their families, and the community.

Successful completion of this three-semester program satisfies the ECE Registry training requirements for a Certificate to Practice as an Early Childhood Educator (Basic). More information about Becoming an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in British Columbia is available from the Government of British Columbia.

Students who complete the certificate program, may apply for admission into the Early Childhood Education diploma program and complete the remaining courses in Semesters 3 and 4 and specific practicum(s) to apply for ECE Registry Specialized Certificates as an Infant Toddler Educator (ITE) and/or Special Needs Early Childhood Educator (SNE).

Online components:

  • Some classes will be scheduled online such that students will need access to a computer with a webcam/microphone and a stable internet connection to join classes remotely via Moodle, the College’s learning management system.
  • Synchronous Online Learning.  Three times a week online weekday evenings (six to eight hours per week).  Imagine you and other classmates are in class together in real-time, but instead of sitting next to each other, you’re all in your own homes, still engaging in discussions and learning with the instructor, feeling like you are in the class. That is essentially what synchronous online learning is. You and your classmates are participating in the same class at the same time, but you’re logging in remotely from your own computer.
  • Asynchronous Online Learning. Six to eight hours per week with the freedom to schedule this to complement your personal schedule.  This allows you to complete the class weekly learning activities (readings, videos, reflective exercises) and then connect with other students and instructors later to discuss what you learned.

In-person components:  

  • Some classes will be scheduled at an Okanagan College campus.  Three to six hours per week you will meet your classmates and your instructor on campus.  Save your imagination for when we dive into hands-on practical activities and interact with your instructor and other students in person for an in-class learning experience. It's an engaging learner- centred approach that brings the course content to life learned throughout the week. 
  • Practicum experiences are an integral part of Early Childhood Education programs with mandatory attendance requirements for practicum hours.  Descriptions of each practicum course are included in the program outline. Students will be assigned to a practicum site which will be located in the Okanagan Valley or surrounding areas. Transportation to and from practicum locations are the student’s responsibility.


Practicum experiences are an integral part of Early Childhood Education programs with mandatory attendance requirements for practicum hours.  Descriptions of each practicum course are included in the program outline.  Students will be assigned to a practicum site which will be located in the Okanagan Valley or surrounding areas.  Transportation to and from practicum locations are the student’s responsibility.

Students looking for financial support to access this program are encouraged to explore the links below and/or contact HealthPrograms@okanagan.bc.ca for assistance. 

Campus Start date Schedule
Salmon Arm Jan. 2024

Program currently scheduled January 8 – November 26, 2024. Online Classes will be Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. 1-2 in-person daytime will be scheduled on campus, usually on a Wednesday or a Friday. Practicum placements in Semesters 1, 2 and 3 are scheduled at worksites – days and times may vary but will require a commitment to attend for several weeks as a per a regular full-time work schedule in the industry during the practicum time periods.

Penticton Jan. 06, 2025

Admission requirements

Academic Admission Requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for one year as of the first day of classes.

  • English 12 with minimum 60% or alternatives.

General Requirements

  • Valid First Aid Certificate that meets the BC Child Care Licensing Regulation (Schedule C) for the duration of the program.
  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.
  • Completion of the ECE Program Information and Student Questionnaire Form. Instructions will be sent to applicants by Admissions to complete this form.
  • Students in this program engage actively in laboratory practice, acting both as patient/client and as caregiver in simulated situations. Notwithstanding all specific program prerequisites, Okanagan College reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant when, in the opinion of Okanagan College, there is sufficient and substantiated evidence, medical or otherwise, to conclude that by granting admission Okanagan College would jeopardize the safety of clients under student care or would otherwise be negligent in providing for the safety and well-being of clients, agency staff or other students.
  • Students entering into the Early Childhood Education program should review Okanagan College policy information on clinical, practicum and external placements.

Other notes and recommendations:

  • All applicants are strongly advised to ensure their immunization status is current for work in child care settings. Some child care organizations may ask for proof of immunization records as a requirement for a practicum placement.

  • All applicants are asked to review the Health and Social Development Requisite Skills and Abilities Checklist and will be asked to submit this form to the department at the start of the program. Students in this program engage actively in practical skills development in simulated situations and will participate in practicum placements that require the safe care of vulnerable children.

  • Students will be responsible for costs of travel to off-site facilities for scheduled field-trips, observation assignments and practicum placements.

Program outline

Semester 1

ECDE 111 - Interpersonal and Personal Communication Skills
ECDE 112 - Child Development Conception to 3 years
ECDE 113 - Child Development 3-12 years of Age
ECDE 114 - Planning for Early Childhood Education
ECDE 115 - The Early Childhood Profession
ECDE 116 - Observing and Documenting Children's Development
ECDE 117 - Observing and Documenting Children's Development Practicum

Semester 2

ECDE 121 - Group Process
ECDE 122 - Health, Safety and Nutrition
ECDE 123 - Families
ECDE 124 - Guiding and Caring
ECDE 129 - Practicum II

Semester 3

ECDE 211 - Professionalism
ECDE 212 - Advanced Program Planning
ECDE 219 - Practicum III

Graduation from the Early Childhood Education certificate program requires successful completion of the courses in the program outline.

Minimum passing grade in all components is 70%.

Additional information

View the official Calendar details and policies
Learn more about the department
View the Tuition and fees page


Join an info session or become a student for a day.


Have your questions answered by an advisor or recruiter. 


Take the next step and enrol in a program or course at OC.