Start Dates

  • January 10, 2024
  • September 03, 2024


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.

Program Description

You can make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities. The full-time eight-month (two terms) Early Childhood Education and Development 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-centred learning experiences. 
This program combines theory and practice and graduates are eligible for Level 2 Early Childhood Educator (formerly Child Development Worker) certification from the Alberta Government.

Interested in advancing even further in Early Childhood Education and Development?

Bow Valley College also offers a two-year Early Childhood Education and Development Diploma program.

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 the times and locations of the learners choosing.
Practicum courses include on-site activity at a licensed childcare program in Alberta and online seminars.
Students 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 either English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


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


  • Satisfactory results on the BVC 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.


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

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.

This introductory course addresses the cognitive and physical development of the child from conception to twelve years of age. Learners evaluate theories and principles informing child development from a world view, including multicultural and indigenous perspectives. Learners also address the application of evidence-based practice in the area of outdoor play as it relates to child development.

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.

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

Through the lens of cultural context, this course provides an understanding of Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory and its relationship to social-emotional wellbeing. Learners inform and modify curriculum experiences through observation, documentation, and reflection to model learning environments that support the social-emotional development of children. Support strategies to foster social-emotional development and respectful cooperative relationships with children, family and community are developed.

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

The Child Development Worker/Child Development Supervisor certification from Ministry of Children’s Services Child Care Staff Certification office, and the First Aid certificate 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 certificate learners get a maximum of three years to complete the program and the diploma learners get five years. The most courses that a learner can take per semester are five—four theory courses and one practicum course. If a learner takes five courses per semester, the learner can complete the certificate program in two semesters and the diploma in four. To ensure your success in the program, please adjust the course load to maintain a good balance between your school and personal life.

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.
You can work as a Child Development Worker or Child Development Supervisor in day care, pre-school, out of school care programs. 

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 applications: 

  • Reliable internet access – DSL or cable connections are highly recommended.
  • We recommend Windows 7 or 10 (preferred) or Mac OS software; Microsoft Office 2013 (minimum); Adobe Acrobat Reader; and a media player such as Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, or Windows Media Player.
  • Some courses might require additional software or applications packages. You will be given this information before starting the course.
  • We recommend Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari as browsers. D2L does not work well with Internet Explorer.
The certificate program textbooks cost is approximately $655 and for the diploma is $1490. 
Yes, the practicum is a course in itself and all learners have to complete it in order to graduate. There are mandatory workshops and seminar in the practicum which are integral part of the practicum. 
Yes, you can. You have to get an approval from your director and the ECED program.
You can do practicum at your day home, if it is registered with a day home agency. You have to get an approval from the agency and the ECED program.
The PIC should be dated no earlier than 90 days from the start of the program. If your PIC/VSS is older, then you have to apply for new PIC/VSS. It will be good for two years.
You can submit your PIC on Brightspace/D2L, the learner management system used by the college, two week prior to the semester start date. The instructions on how to submit PIC will be provided on the ELCC program pages. 
Related Programs

Early Childhood Education and Development Diploma

The Early Childhood Education and Development Diploma program prepares you to work in child care settings with young children and families as a frontline caregiver or as a supervisor.

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