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Early Learning and Child Care Diploma

You can make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities. The 16-month (full-time) Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Diploma 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 knowlege in 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 Supervisor certification from Alberta Human Services.

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, be mentored by Bow Valley College ELCC instructors, and will 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.

Flexible Delivery Options

ELCC programs are offered full-time or part-time with a variety of delivery options including traditional classroom and online learning.

Students registered in the traditional full-time Early Learning and Child Care Diploma 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

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) [Online Only]

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.

ELECTIVE - 1 of: SOCI1101, PSYC1101, HMSV1201, COMM1105, HMSV1302, MGMT1201, PSYC1201, PSYC2301, PSYC2401 (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners choose one of the above electives.

ENGL1201 - English Composition (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners will explore various genres of English composition. This course is not remedial; competency in high-school grammar and composition is required.

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 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. Prerequisites: 12 credits of Year 1 Early Learning and Child Care, ELCC1998

Semester 3

ELCC2301 - Child Development through Observation (3 credits, 45 hours)

This advanced course focuses on the further examination of communication, language, play, and social learning, while exploring the physical, mental, and emotional development of children from birth to twelve years of age. In addition, the course’s ecological approach focuses on the observation of children in the same age group. Learners design experiential activities to support child development using observation techniques.

ELCC2201 - Creative Expressions: Theory and Practice (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will focus on the development of creative activities and their role in providing a developmentally appropriate program for children in child care. Included in this course are ideas for the development of two and three dimensional activities, creative language experiences, science and mathematics, music and movement, indoor and outdoor play, dramatic play, and media.

ELCC2213 - Language, Literacy, and Communication in the Early Years (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will provide students with an understanding of early literacy, language, and communication development. Students will develop strategies that can be used to support a child´s interest and skills related to listening, speaking, reading, writing, and other forms of communication.  The effective use of children´s literature, storytelling, puppetry, and dramatic play will be explored. The importance of cultural considerations and individual differences on communication and language development will be emphasized. Prerequisite: ELCC1101* *may be taken as a pre or co-requisite

ELCC2505 - Administration and Leadership in Early Learning and Child Care (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course focuses on providing learners with theoretical and practical information about principles of effective early learning and child care leadership (ELCC) and the administration of ELCC programs. Learners will explore the theory and practice of leadership and organizational development in the context of early learning and child care organizations and funders. Prerequisite: ELCC1999

ELCC2998 - Introduction to the Roles and Responsibilities of Supervisors/Directors in ELCC Settings - Practicum and Seminar (7 credits, 200+45 hours)

This practicum focuses on observation, documentation, reflective practice, and emergent curriculum. In addition, observation and documentation also serve to support educators, children, families, and community. Learners will work 14-16 hours each week for 15 weeks for their practicum hours and attend the 3 hour integration seminar each week. Prerequisites: Early Learning and Child Care Certificate. Completion of OR co- registration in 9 credits of second year coursework.

Semester 4

ELCC2305 - Inclusive Care and Education of Young Children (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will focus on the needs of children whose development is atypical. Students will explore a range of exceptionalities and gain an understanding of strategies to support all children within the child care setting. Students will examine the values and philosophy of inclusion in child care.

ELCC2209 - Caring for Infants and Toddlers (3 credits, 45 hours)

This advanced course focuses on the development of appropriate strategies and skills to provide developmentally appropriate care for infants and toddlers. An understanding of infant and toddler development and its role in developmentally appropriate practice will be discussed. The central role of the caregiver and of daily routines will be emphasized. The importance of effective communications will also be addressed.

ELCC2501 - Issues in Early Learning and Child Care (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will focus on an examination of critical issues in the field such as interdisciplinary practices, technology, advocacy, related research topics, assessment, early intervention, poverty, and ethics. Students will examine these issues and their impact on practice in a child care setting.

ELCC2205 - Introduction to Out of School Programming (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course covers the goals and essential components of programs for school aged children. Historical and social influences of such programs in Canada will be examined. Students will gain insight into the role of school age caregivers, while examining their own personal qualities and philosophy for working in this field.

ELCC2999 - Early Learning and Child Care Settings: Enhanced Perspectives - Practicum and Seminar (7 credits, 200+45 hours)

In the final practicum placement, learners further develop their reflective teaching practices. This practicum focuses on reflective learning and topics include the mighty learner and connecting with the child, family, and community. In addition, learners research a topic of their choice pertaining to keeping their passion alive for early childhood education. Prerequisite: ELCC2998 with a passing grade. Pre or Co Requisite: 18 Credits of year 2 ELCC content coursework.

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, 3rd, or 4th semester in place of the program specific practicum. Please note: a ‘Pass’ is required to be successful.


Admission Requirements

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 granted transfer credit to:

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