Start Dates

  • September 03, 2024
  • January 09, 2025


Program Delivery

  • Any-time Online
  • Off-Campus
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $5,187
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $670

This program is not open to international applicants.

We are no longer accepting applications for Domestic learners for the January 2024 intake.

Program Description

You can make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities. This two-term Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) Certificate program prepares you to provide quality early learning and child care in a wide variety of settings, and to plan emergent play experiences that reflect the dynamic interests and skills of the children you work with. Informed by Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework, you will gain knowledge of child development, family dynamics, play, and program planning that will equip you to support children's healthy, holistic development through quality play, care, and learning experiences. Through participating in two practicum placement experiences, you will have opportunities to translate theory into practice in real-life settings.
Graduates are eligible for Level 2 Early Childhood Educator certification from the Alberta Government.

Transfer your program to future studies

Graduates of the Bow Valley College Early Childhood Education and Development Certificate program are eligible to continue their studies in the Diploma program with an additional eight months of study.

Delivery mode

As this program is available to learners across Alberta, the academic courses are delivered through our online learning platform and learning activity takes place at times and locations of learners' choosing.
Practicum courses include on-site activity at a licensed childcare program in Alberta and scheduled, weekly online seminars.
Learners may choose to take fewer courses each term and extend the length of their program.

Course Listings Request More Information Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Regional Applicants


Airdrie Campus
Cochrane Campus
Okotoks Campus

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements

*Subject to change

  • Credit in English Language Arts 30-1 or minimum 65% in English Language Arts 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test with a minimum standard score of 520 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing


  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test
English language proficiency requirements

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.

Required resources in practicum courses

To enhance your educational experience and streamline document tracking and management, you will be required to purchase and use a software tool for data tracking and communication called  CompTracker. This tool is designed to meet the specific needs of your practicum course, ensuring everything runs efficiently, and it keeps all your practicum documents easily accessible on either your personal mobile device (Apple or Android) or on the secure website.  No more lost forms! With this software you will be able to receive real-time feedback, and it promotes consistency and transparency in communication.
CompTracker software is a required resource for your program and access must be purchased at the start of each term to receive course credit. The purchase price is $50 plus GST per practicum course and is payable when you login to download the software. Full details and training on this app will be provided to you in your course. The device and browser specifications are available at www.studentlogbook.com/requirements.


Transfer opportunities are available to a variety of institutions. Transfer credits are reviewed and accepted on an individual basis by the institution to which you apply. See our most current transfer agreements here

Related Links

Course Listings Request More Information Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Regional Applicants


Airdrie Campus
Cochrane Campus
Okotoks Campus

Employment Rate


Training Related Employment Rate


Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.

Course Listing

Full course outlines are available here.

Curriculum subject to change.

Term 1

Required CoursesCredit

Explore the historical roots of early childhood education in Canada, the evolving pedagogical approaches, and the societal shifts that have shaped the field. Gain insights into the policies and regulations that impact young children and inform our approaches to emphasize creative, developmentally appropriate, and inclusive early learning and child care settings. Learn about the professional standards and ethical considerations needed to foster positive learning experiences for young children. Through a holistic exploration of these topics, emerge well-equipped to embark on your journey in early childhood education.

Examine child development through a multicultural lens, focusing on fundamental theories, milestones, and influences on growth. Explore diverse cultural perspectives to develop skills for fostering collaborative relationships with families and communities, ultimately enhancing early childhood development and care.

The course prepares learners to adopt holistic strategies to respond to emerging issues in the early childhood education field. Recognizing the importance of a nurturing environment, learners explore topics related to the wellbeing of children, families, and educators, which may include promoting healthy lifestyles, developing trauma awareness, and following licensing, health and safety guidelines. Upon successfully completing this course, learners will develop approaches to supporting children by maintaining a healthy and meaningful relationship with families and communities.

This introductory practicum course provides learners with an opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to experience gained in authentic early learning settings. In the practicum experience, learners build responsive relationships within the early childhood community. Learners observe and work with young children, using developmentally appropriate care, play, and learning practices. Learners document their observations and reflections throughout the course to demonstrate their growth and understanding of the material. Additionally, learners adhere to ethical and regulatory guidelines and demonstrate compliance in their practice.

This first-year composition course introduces learners to academic writing and critical thinking. They read and analyze sociopolitical, cultural, and gender issues in texts with an emphasis on experiences of people whose voices were historically silenced, particularly those of Indigenous communities in Canada. Learners develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others by quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing source material. Learners present their written assignments professionally according to APA formatting guidelines.

Term 2

Required CoursesCredit

Through practice and reflection, learners nuture personal and professional relationships using interpersonal communication skills. With a focus on other-oriented communication, learners demonstrate how inequities and power dynamics influence relationships.

Through multiple worldviews, including Indigenous perspectives, explore the concepts of how play shapes the developing child, including how both indoor and outdoor environments, as well as urban and rural settings, serve as catalysts for sparking creativity, instilling a sense of wonder, and cultivating joy in childhood experiences. Use evidence-based techniques to build and expand on play by nurturing inquisitiveness, encouraging risk-taking, and fostering problem-solving. Become a partner in play through planning play spaces that incorporate a variety of materials, including natural materials and loose parts, to stimulate children's curiosity and growth.

Explore multiple perspectives and world views on theory and strategies for supporting children's social and emotional development. Discover how using a socio-cultural lens can serve a respectful and cooperative practice of relationships. Techniques are offered to support responsive environments and child guidance.

This second semester practicum course prepares learners to apply play-based skills and early childhood development theories to their practice under the guidance of a practicum instructor and a designated mentor. Adhering to early childhood research and the guidelines from Alberta's Early Learning Framework, learners critically consider aspects of their role as an early childhood educator, a co-learner, a co-researcher, and a co-imaginer, including observing, documenting, planning learning experiences, working with families, building relationships, maintaining health, safety, and nutrition standards.

This practicum provides a combination of practical experience in an early childhood setting and weekly integrated seminars. Learners must complete 200 practicum hours and 45 hours of seminar in addition to practicum experiential learning activities to meet the requirement for Provincial certification purposes.

This course provides an introduction to the diverse Indigenous Nations of Canada, while looking at the effects of colonialism in both historical and contemporary times, and from multiple perspectives. This course will orient learners to the current goals and challenges of Indigenous communities in Canada today. Learners are encouraged to situate themselves in Truth and Reconciliation and the Calls to Action, especially as they relate to their chosen field of work.

Program FAQs

Certification from the Alberta Child Care Staff Certification Office and current First Aid certification for child care professionals. 

If you have prior work experience or have taken courses comparable to those required under this program at another institution, you may be eligible for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or transfer credit. For more information, please contact our Registrar's Office at (403) 410-1400.

All requests must be submitted prior to the start of the program.  


The transferability options are listed on the Early Childhood Education and Development Certificate and Diploma pages from the School of Community Studies programs and courses pages.


The ECED Certificate program is laid out in a minimum of 2 terms or 8 months, and the ECED Diploma program is laid out in a minimum of 4 terms or 16 months. 
The maximum number of courses that can be taken in a term is 5; most often this equals 4 theory courses and 1 practicum course. Learners in the ECED Certificate program have a maximum of 3 years to complete all the requirements, and learners in the ECED Diploma program have 5 years.  
Learners may choose to take fewer courses per term which will increase the duration of their program. Learners who are working full-time are encouraged to take fewer courses per term to ensure success in the program and to provide a better work/life balance.



Yes. A current Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) must be submitted prior to practicum placements and ELCC course work. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent practicum or field work placements and subsequently, successful completion of the program.
Qualified early childhood educators work in a variety of settings such as preschool, child care, out-of-school care, dayhome agencies, family support programs, community recreation programs, early intervention, and respite care. 

Planning your course schedule according to availability and prerequisites requires some consideration. Once you are a registered student in a program, contact Academic Advising to assist you with planning. 


If you are taking an online course, you should make sure your computer has the following: 

  • Reliable internet access
  • Windows 10 or higher for PC computers and laptops and MacOSX10.10 or higher for MacBooks
  • 2 GB RAM memory for PC computers and laptops and 512 MB RAM for MacBooks
  • 3 GB hard disk storage
  • 128 MB graphics memory
  • Webcam (built-in or external)
  • Microphone (built-in or external)
    We do not recommend using Tablets (such as iPads), Smartphones or Chromebooks
The certificate program textbooks cost is approximately $655 and for the diploma is $1490. 
Yes, each practicum is a required course that all learners must complete in order to graduate. Practicum courses are an integrated placement and seminar course that involve two days in the field (placement or workplace) and one mandatory seminar class each week.
Yes, you can. The program needs to agree to this, and you need to inform the Work-Integrated Learning department when they ask you, before the program begins, to provide your employment information for practicum purposes.
Yes, you can, as long as your dayhome is registered with a Licensed Dayhome Agency. The program needs to agree to this also, and you need to inform the Work-Integrated Learning department when they ask you, before the program begins, to provide your employment information for practicum purposes.
All learners must have a Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) that is no more than 6 months old before beginning their first practicum. The Work-Integrated Learning Team will reach out to you up to three months before each practicum course begins (through your myBVC student email) to provide instructions about how to submit your PIC/VSS.
The Work-Integrated Learning Team will reach out to you up to three months before each practicum course begins (through your myBVC student email) to provide instructions about how to submit your police information check. 

There are a few different ways learners can access education funds. Paid ECE’s or contracted family day home educators can access the professional development funding and release time grant through Children's Services: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-child-care-grant-funding-program.aspx. This provides up to $1500 per educator per year for post-secondary courses, plus the release time funding. This is the best place to start.
Another option (for students already working in an ELCC program) is the Canada-Alberta Job Grant: https://www.alberta.ca/canada-alberta-job-grant.aspx.
Bow Valley College also has various scholarships and bursaries available to students - many that go unclaimed each year. Information regarding these can be found at: https://bowvalleycollege.ca/student-resources/financial-services.
Learner Success Services at the College also has a Financial Services office that can help potential students access other sources of funding as they complete their education. 


Yes, there is. You must be a learner in good standing and meet the following criteria:

  • satisfactory academic standing (2.0 GPA, C Grade, 64-66% minimum for the ECED program) and are not on academic probation under the Academic Continuance and Graduation Policy. GPA calculation tool can be found here: https://bowvalleycollege.ca/student-resources/academic-services/gpa-calculation
  • not subject to any current active sanctions under the Learner Code of Conduct Policy
  • no overdue amounts owing to the College under the Learner Financial Accounts Policy
  • not under probation or suspension under the Academic Honesty Policy and have not received an academic dishonesty sanction within the last 6 months
  • not subject to a current sanction under any other College policies

All college policies can be found at: https://bowvalleycollege.ca/student-resources/student-forms-and-policies

Please visit the full-time course credits pages for details for each program. 
Learners who carry less than 9 credits in a term will be considered part-time. You do not need to be a full-time student to take this program.
Most practicum placements are considered full-time status regardless of number of credits. 

No, unfortunately we cannot allow learners to do practicum outside of Alberta or outside of Canada. Although you may be able to sign up for our online practicum seminars, the onsite practicum must be done in a licensed childcare program in Alberta.

No, due to the in-person requirement for practicum placements.  
Other than the practicum, the ECED Certificate program courses are offered only in an online format with a scheduled online seminar and theory courses offered asynchronously. The ECED Diploma program is offered in a variety of formats from face-to-face in a classroom to online asynchronous: days, evenings, and weekends.



No. The program runs on a semester system, meaning classes have a fixed beginning and ending date. All online classes are facilitated by an instructor who will pace the delivery of the material and provide due dates during the term. 
In the ECED Certificate program, not every course is offered in each semester.

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