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Early Learning and Child Care Certificate

You can make a difference in the lives of children, family, and communities. The 8-month (full-time) Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Certificate program prepares you to provide quality child care in a wide variety of settings and plan emergent play experiences for the children in your care. You will gain knowledge of child development, family dynamics, play, and program planning that will equip you to support the healthy development of children through child-centered learning experiences.

This program combines theory and practice and graduates are eligible for Child Development Worker certification from Alberta Human Services

Interested in advancing even further in ELCC? Bow Valley College also offers a two-year ELCC diploma program.

Innovative Learning Lab and Practicum Project

The Early Learning and Child Care learning lab combines classroom space with interactive children’s learning centres that include an artist studio, a reading centre, a dramatic play centre, and a sensory motor centre. This innovative and engaging environment supports the transition of theory to practice as students have an opportunity to engage with children in the lab space.

Practicum Project
Learners have the opportunity to participate in the Practicum Project. You will take your practicum in our lab classroom, mentored by Bow Valley College ELCC instructors, and work alongside educators, children, and parents from the YWCA at Bow Valley College Child Care Centre. This practicum focuses on emergent, child-centred, and play-based curriculum. You will focus on building strong and healthy relationships with the children and with all parties involved in the practicum experience. You will be involved in observing, documenting, and planning the curriculum to meet children’s individual needs, interests, and development. By focusing on the belief that children, by nature, are unique and competent, we join children in their learning by encouraging exploration and creative expressions in richly designed environments that you create.

Award-Winning Curriculum

  • Program Excellence Award – Association of Canadian Community Colleges, 2010
  • Innovation of the Year – League for Innovation in the Community College, 2009

International Practicum

You can put your knowledge into practice in an overseas community working with community schools and agencies. In June 2012 and May 2013, learners went to rural Uganda. In 2014 learners went to Jamaica, and in 2015 and 2016 went to Guyana, South America. Learners will be returning to Guyana in 2017.

Scholarship for High School Students

Alberta Children and Youth Services provides a $2,500 post-secondary scholarship to successful Career and Technologies Studies learners.

Delivery Option

ELCC certificate program is offered full-time or part-time in traditional classroom setting.
Students registered in the traditional full-time Early Learning and Child Care Certificate program are suggested to write the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment in semester one.

Instructor Bios

Early Learning and Child Care Instructor Bios

Need more info?

Student Advising Centre  403-410-1402

Do you have experience caring for children, and interested in using that experience to advance in the child care field? Read more about LEEP from the Government of Alberta.


Courses in Program

Curriculum Subject to Change

Click on the course to view the course description.

Semester 1

ELCC1301 - Child Development: An Introduction (3 credits, 45 hours)

This introductory course examines the development of children from conception to twelve years of age. The course emphasizes the integrated approach to understanding children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development, as well as the impact of context and culture on child development. Learners explore key theories and theorists in child development as well as make connections between theory, research, and application.

ELCC1101 - Introduction to Early Learning and Child Care (3 credits, 45 hours)

This survey course focuses on understanding the goals and essential components for the development of successful early childhood programs. Through the study of the role of early childhood professionals, students will gain insight into their own philosophy of early childhood education.

HMSV1102- Aboriginal History, Identity, and Culture (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is an overview of Canada's First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.  Historical and current issues are covered, including languages, stories of origin, different band treaties, and current issues of ownership over land, water and governance. 
Prerequisites: None.

ENG1201 - English Composition (3 credits, 45 hours)

This first-year composition course provides learners with a solid grounding in the processes that writers use to communicate clearly in the academic context. By reading and analyzing texts from a broad spectrum of purposes, cultures, historical periods, and disciplines, learners develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others. They learn to quote, paraphrase, and summarize the work of other authors, prepare documents according to APA format, and write research papers.

ELCC1998 - Introduction to Emerging Practices in Early Learning and Child Care - Practicum and Seminar (7 credits, 200+45 hours)

This practicum provides learners with the opportunity to apply play-based skills and knowledge under the supervision of the college practicum supervisor and a designated workplace mentor. Through practice and seminar, basic health, safety, nutrition, observation, documentation, and appropriate practice with children are the learners' focus. The practicum is a combination of practical experience at a community work site and integrated class seminars. Pre or Co Requisites: 6 credits of year 1 Early Learning and Child Care content coursework.


Semester 2

ELCC1305 - Developing Through Play (3 credits, 45 hours)

This introductory course will explore the role of play in children’s development and how play is integral to a child’s developmental needs. Students will develop an understanding of the relationship of play to the different developmental stages, as well as the role of the environment and the early childhood practitioner in enhancing children’s play. This course focuses on the planning of inclusive and appropriate play environments including indoor and outdoor play experiences. Students will explore a variety of play situations/materials in used childcare settings.

SOCI1201 - Sociology of the Family (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course introduces sociology of the family while developing a greater command of sociological imagination from various sociological perspectives. In addition, this course provides learners with a thorough grounding in both the theoretical and substantive issues in the sociological study of families. Issues dealt with include: how changes in the Canadian and global economies impact the definition of family; how the idea of family impacts the society's order; or whether common attitudes and beliefs about families can be proven empirically. As issues arise, learners explore demographic trends; examine how the challenges faced by families are social issues; and weigh common attitudes and stereotypes about families. Learners challenge the social practices, perceptions, and experiences related to families that are often taken for granted as "common sense", inevitable, or natural reality.

ELCC1309 - Guiding Young Children's Behaviour (3 credits, 45 hours)

This introductory course provides an understanding of children's behaviour in a developmental context, and the importance of realistic expectations of children in various stages. The social development of the young child will be examined in the context of positive guidance to support self regulation. Appropriate strategies to help children to develop positive self-esteem and develop appropriate behaviour will be discussed. The prevention of behaviour problems through developmentally appropriate practices and interventions will be emphasized.

COMM1101 - Interpersonal Relationships and Communication (3 credits, 45 hours)

Healthy interpersonal relationships are central to our happiness, overall well-being, and work place success. Effective communication, including mindful listening, conflict resolution, non-verbal communication, managing emotions, and perception checking, are critical in such interpersonal relationships. This course has been designed to aid students as they develop strategies necessary for effective and accurate communication in relationship with others, whether those relationships exist in a work place, a family, a friendship, or a classroom. It focuses on the development of personal strengths and self-awareness that contribute to the development of communication skills and positive relationships.

ELCC1999 - The Role of the Educator in Early Learning and Child Care Settings (7 credits, 200+45 hours)

This practicum provides learners with the opportunity to apply play-based skills and knowledge under the supervision of the college practicum supervisor and a designated mentor. Basic health, safety and nutrition, observation and documentation as well as appropriate practice with children across curricular areas are included through practice and seminar. Practicum is a combination of practical experience in a community work site and integrated seminars with a class. Pre or Co Requisites: 12 credits of year 1 Early Learning and Child Care content coursework and a grade of P in ELCC1998.

Optional International Practicum

HMSV2999 - International Human Services (7 credits, 245 hours)

The International Human Services practicum experience is intended to provide students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and experiences. This experience will provide students with the opportunity to take their educational training in the Human Services and apply the skills and knowledge in different ways. This experience will support the transfer of knowledge and skills through service learning. HMSV2999 is offered during the Spring/Summer semester at Bow Valley College and can be taken in your 2nd semester in place of the program specific practicum. Please note: a ‘Pass’ is required to be successful.


Admission Requirements - Currently subject to change

Academic Requirements

  • Credit in either English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development test (GED) test with a minimum score in the following sections:
    • Writing Skills: 520 minimum standard score
    • Interpreting Literature and Art: 520 minimum standard score


  • Satisfactory results on the BVC Admissions Test

Pre-Practicum Requirement

  • A current Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) must be submitted prior to practicum placements. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent clinical, practicum, or field work placements and, subsequently, successful completion of the program.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Transferability - Currently subject to change

Graduates of this program may be accepted into:

Some transfer available from:

  • Calgary Board of Education
  • College of the North Atlantic
  • Heritage College
  • Lethbridge College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Mothercraft College
  • Mount Royal University
  • Prairie College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Red Deer College
  • St. Joseph College