Early Childhood Education Dartmouth Campus | Sydney Campus |

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Start a career in Early Childhood Education in under a year!

This 48-week Early Childhood Education Level 2 program offered at our Dartmouth and Sydney campuses consists of both theory and practical training and is designed for you to become trained as an Early Childhood Educator. Our regulated and provincially approved Diploma program will have you be career-ready in under one year. Most Early Childhood Education programs across the province of Nova Scotia are delivered over two years. 

You will learn to use holistic, play-based learning to create stimulating environments through natural discovery and invention. Students will learn to value the social and cultural contexts of children, the continuity of learning experiences and authentic assessment. You will also have the opportunity to apply your newly learned skills throughout your practicums.

Early Childhood Educators (ECE) work with children who are six weeks to 12 years old. Whether you are working 1-on-1, or with a group of children, your primary role as an Early Childhood Educator is to fulfill your duty to help children with their emotional, cognitive, social, and physical needs. 

Bursaries are available through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for up to $5,000* paid in installments over the duration of your early childhood education diploma program. Priority for funding will be given to students who identify as belonging to an underrepresented group within the sector (e.g., persons living with a disability, 2SLGBTQIA+, Newcomer, Acadian/francophone, Mi’kmaq/Indigenous, Black/African Nova Scotian, or another racially visible group). Please contact your post-secondary institution for details.

* For new students who qualify and continue to meet the eligibility criteria. Second year students will be eligible to receive a percentage of the bursary.

As an Early Childhood Educator, you might:

  • Create lesson plans
  • Lead daily activities
  • Monitor children
  • Encourage and engage children
  • Interact with parents and other caregivers
  • Keep the classroom or daycare environment clean and stimulating
  • Assess in-class homework and assignments
  • Attend staff meetings

The Early Childhood Education courses are taught by industry-leading professionals, and your practicums will be completed with our industry partners throughout the HRM and greater Sydney area, Nova Scotia. Upon graduation, students will qualify as Level 2 Early Childhood Educators. And, depending on prior qualifications, graduates may qualify as Level 3 Early Childhood Educators.

Total program length: 31 weeks theory, 17 weeks practicum

admission requirements

Post-secondary early childhood education training institutions are responsible for ensuring students admitted to an early childhood education diploma program are suited for the program, both academically and in disposition. Eligible students must have one of the following as defined in the Private Career Colleges Operational Regulations, subclauses 17(a)(i) to (iv):

(i) a Nova Scotia high school graduation diploma as described in the Public School Program published by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development,

(ii) a Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults issued by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education,

(iii) a high school equivalency certificate obtained through a General Education Development (GED) testing service,

(iv) a qualification from another jurisdiction that is equivalent to any of those referred to in subclauses (i) to (iii)

And all of the following:

  • pass both a Vulnerable Sector Check and a Child Abuse Registry Check
  • demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction (English or French) including the ability to speak, read, and write clearly and correctly
  • provide two character references documenting 25 hours of experience working with children and detailing the student’s emotional maturity and suitability for this work
  • have participated in a program information session offered by the training institution 

Program Outline

  • Administration & Management

    Effective communication and leadership are essential skills for early childhood education administrators. In this course students will develop a professional leadership style appropriate to the role of an administrator in an ECE setting. Students will learn techniques to hire, support and maintain quality staff, guide and lead quality programming, and supervise effective operations of a child care facility. Making use of the Quality Matters document students will explore the administrator’s role in using the Quality Matters program, and to practice Continuous Quality Improvement as a member of a team. We will explore issues related to leadership (professional, pedagogical, and administrative), staffing (recruitment and retention, professional development, and engagement), learning environments (high quality and inclusive), and relationships (interactions and partnerships with children, families, staff, other professionals, and the community). Students will learn skills to manage budgets, monitor expenditures, and analyze the impacts of funding opportunities. Students will recognize the impact of accountability, including compliance (with provisions of Nova Scotia’s Day Care Act and with provincial Day Care Regulations, policies, standards, and licensing and monitoring activities), accountability (for financial reporting and respecting any public funds received), and program quality (to be maintained through the implementation of the Nova Scotia Early Learning Curriculum Framework and through the development, implementation, and assessment of Quality Improvement Plans). Students will practice using the CQI cycle of reflection and planning: Plan, Do, Review, Adjust.

  • Career Building/Employment Readiness

    Upon successful completion, students will be able to create a resume representing their skills, experience, and educational background. Following this module, students will apply the principles relating to resume building, job search and follow up as it pertains to their field of practice.

  • Child Development

    Students will gain in-depth knowledge of childhood growth and development through study of factors that have a stimulus and impact on cognitive capacity – including environmental and learned influences. A number of historical theoretical approaches will be examined and students will gain insight into how theories on childhood growth and development influence today’s educational practices.

  • Child Guidance 1

    This course is designed to demonstrate the positive influential effects of developmentally appropriate practice and positive environment on children’s behaviour. Students are instructed in how to support children’s social and emotional development through an examination of the significance of play, interpreting children’s behaviour and individualizing interactions with children. Students explore various factors that have influence on the interactions and behaviours of children in early learning environments through evidence-based strategies and build skills and knowledge of behaviour guidance principles applicable during the early years.

  • Child Guidance 2

    This course provides a focus for understanding and enhancing young children’s learning experiences. Children grow and develop their abilities best when they can learn self-control while maintaining their self-esteem. As an early childhood educator, students have the opportunity to help children learn to control their behaviour in a positive manner. Helping children develop self-control will also contribute to a positive learning environment for all children. Building on information covered in Child Guidance, students will continue to explore the principles of child guidance with an emphasis on social emotional learning. Learning the difference between guidance and discipline the students will develop a variety of direct and indirect guidance strategies and be able to describe effective practices for the prevention of discipline problems as well as identify techniques to help children use problem-solving strategies. Students will review policies as they relate to guiding children’s behaviour, including centre-based policies and provincial regulations.

  • Computer Skills & Communication

    Students in this course will gain fundamental skills in key areas necessary for professional communication. Graduates will be required to have the ability to apply computer skills suitable for report writing, presentations, and internet research. Focus areas will include oral and written communications, email, internet navigation, and Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

  • Diversity & Inclusion 1: Cultural & Family Influences

    The relationship between early childhood educator and families is crucial in supporting children. A deep understanding of the impact of diversity of family culture, values and beliefs enable the early childhood professional to develop strong partnerships. This course provides students the knowledge required to work with families of diverse backgrounds and examines families through in ecological context. Students will gain an understanding of the diverse nature of families, the issues and challenges that can be barriers to family health, and how to assist in building skills to work collaboratively to support all families. Working with families through the development of skills in communication, collaboration and understanding of family-centered practice. Emphasis will be on building students’ experience and knowledge to design and implement programs as well as considering the roles of other professions in providing comprehensive services to include all children and families in their practice.

  • Diversity & Inclusion 2: The Environment

    The definition of special needs has evolved over time as a more holistic approach has emerged. Recognizing that factors such as the child’s lived experiences and developmental competencies in the areas of social, physical, cognitive, health and well-being. Inclusive environments must include, respond to and respect all children and the diversity they bring to a setting. The capacity to include children with diverse/special needs in an early childhood education program is directly linked to program quality. This course addresses theoretical and practical principles of inclusion in order to promote self-esteem and self-regulation and facilitate the full participation of all children. It examines ways to design and/or adapt goals and objectives, physical and social environments, methods, materials and learning experiences to create inclusive, individually responsive programs. Emphasis is placed on the specific competencies of the early childhood professional essential for planning, implementing and evaluating inclusive practices.

  • Emergent Curriculum & Pedagogical Documentation

    Recognizing that learning requires repeated practice, students will become aware that interests are sustained through the continued planning and implementation of experiences that challenge each child in a manner that is mindful of his/her individual ability. Once skill mastery has been achieved, learning interests are enriched through the addition of new materials that suggest or support new ideas. At this stage, the teacher scaffolds the child’s learning to bring him/her to a new level of understanding. This is done only when a child has demonstrated a developmental readiness to move forward. In addition to providing ongoing opportunities for play-based exploration across the curriculum, emergent curriculum also requires educators to document learning as it unfolds. Documenting learning experiences helps teachers understand where they have been and inspires ideas for where the curriculum might go next. It also helps children remember and understand the process of their own learning and gives parents concrete representations of their children’s developmental growth. Students will learn that documentation takes many forms and includes the use of written observations (recorded in planning books), progress reports, photographs, portfolios and journals. This course will promote flexibility in program delivery in consideration of children’s changing needs and interests, allow students to gain skills to encourage creative and open-ended thinking, and students will be expected to demonstrate a clear understanding of reflective practice and inquiry as instructional tools. This section of the course will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate they have learned to apply the tools of the documentation process.

  • First Aid & CPR

    Upon completion of this workshop the participant will successfully complete the objectives outlined in the predetermined curriculum for the courses offered by St. John Ambulance for the Standard Level First Aid and the Level C CPR.

  • Foundations of ECE Curriculum

    This course provides an introduction to the theoretical and curriculum frameworks and approaches that influence philosophy and practice in early childhood education. Major theoretical perspectives and principles of life-span development are a focus, with additional inquiry into how these perspectives influence the way behaviour is explained and the implications for social practice and self-understanding. Interrelationships between individual and group behaviours, the broader social context within which they occur and influences on the formation of identity and experience are explored. Students will examine a variety of approaches in early childhood education by evaluating and reflecting on how these approaches inform their pedagogical practices and sustain quality program delivery. Students will examine Capable, Confident and Curious: Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework to support current debates and future trends in society and education that directly impact contemporary early childhood education programs in Nova Scotia.

  • Learning Through Observation and Assessment

    Intentionally observing children is an essential component of providing quality child care. Knowing how to observe and document observations properly will assist students in understanding child’s strengths and capacities. Various methods and purposes of observation will be examined while considering the impact of the environment on the child. This course will examine the effects of culture, experiences, traditions, personal history and biases when recording and interpreting children’s behaviours. Students will learn to observe and listen by writing, collecting, and noticing ideas. Students will practice interpreting their observations and planning responses. Students will develop skills in both formal and informal observations using a variety of observation tools and will use objective observations to assess children’s progress across developmental domains. Students will be introduced to authentic assessment to capture children’s ideas, learning, and play.

  • Occupational Health & Safety

    To ensure that employees are knowledgeable in the Department of Environment and Labour’s guidelines for Occupational Health & Safety (OHS).

  • Play-Based Learning 1

    Theories, design principles and resources for creating environments that promote learning through play are highlighted. Play styles and types of play that facilitate children’s development and effective interactions are discussed. Students examine the effectiveness of materials in planning learning experiences that promote development in all domains and evaluate learning environments for children from birth to twelve years. Students become familiar with Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework learning goals and objectives and apply the principles in program planning and the design of learning environments. Students will learn about the role of play in the development of skills and abilities of young children and will focus on the value of play in early childhood development programming and the role of the early childhood educator in expanding the play opportunities for children in all curriculum areas – music, art, science, math and literacy. Students will recognize how the outdoor space is an extension of the indoor classroom and will identify opportunities to support play-based learning in an outdoor environment. Students will be introduced to various curriculum approaches and will focus on emergent curriculum, learning how to follow children’s interests and ideas to create meaningful learning and play experiences.

  • Play-Based Learning 2

    This course will examine the social, heath and developmental play issues for children from infancy through early childhood. Students examine theoretical understandings of play, major influences of play, major influences affecting play and practical approaches for supporting and facilitating play during the early years. Integrating the elements of Capable, Confident and Curious: Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework, students will learn to apply the framework’s learning goals and objectives to program planning and the design of learning environments, including outdoor play spaces. Students will begin to examine transitions, focusing on transitions between the indoor and outdoor learning environment. Specifically, students will promote play-based learning in the following curriculum areas in an early childhood education program: block play, sensory play (including sand and water play), literacy (writing), and wood working. Students will begin to engage in reflective practice and will see the advantages of inquiry-based instruction. Students will recognize their own role as educators in supporting children’s play and how their use of materials and environmental design impacts children’s behaviour, ideas, and play. Particular emphasis will be placed on the use of loose parts and natural materials in supporting children’s play.

  • Play-Based Learning 3

    Play is the foundation of all learning in childhood. In this course students examine the principles to develop, implement, and evaluate a play-based program with key concepts in language and literacy and music and movement across the curriculum. Students learn theory and gain practical knowledge to plan activities in which young children can explore sound, movement, music, art, stories, drama, and beginning literacy, within the context of the whole program for children. Students will delve deeper into reflective practice and will gain further knowledge in the use of “inquiry” as a learning tool.

  • Play-Based Learning 4

    This course offers students the opportunity to connect theory with practice when providing developmentally appropriate and effective learning environments and experiences for children aged birth to twelve years. Referencing the Capable, Confident and Curious: Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework students will connect relevant learning goals and strategies as they plan play experiences. Emphasis will be placed on physical literacy and outdoor learning environments. Students will draw links to current research on the role of physical activity in brain development, healthy outcomes for children, and well-being for everyone involved in early childhood programs. Students will learn to recognize the importance and value that loose parts play adds to children’s unstructured play experiences, how to respond to the need to implement this kind of play within a risk-management lens, and will be expected to demonstrate a clear understanding of reflective practice and inquiry as instructional tools.

  • Play-Based Learning 5

    Building on knowledge of child development and curriculum planning, this course will provide students with a variety of language and literacy experiences appropriate for children from birth to age 12. Students will review language development as well as gain a sound theoretical basis for planning. Through active participation, students will learn practical methods to support the development of language as it emerges. Students will be introduced to methods of selecting children’s literature and using books to support the development of language and literacy in early learning environments. Emphasis will be placed upon the early childhood educator’s role in promoting language and literacy in a developmentally appropriate setting. Students will use a lens of cultural responsiveness and learn how to choose methodologies and materials that support an anti-bias approach within an inclusionary atmosphere of diversity.

  • Play-Based Learning 6

    Undertaking deeper consideration of the environment can enable teachers to conceptualize their role less as a teacher controlling the group, and more as a partner with the children in the social construction of knowledge, and the exploration of working theories and areas of interest. This course will enable students to encourage exploration and play behaviours in young children by enhancing the physical environment and reflecting on the ways in which the core curriculum underpins learning can dramatically alter children’s learning experiences. Emphasis will be placed on the knowledge that children are active agents in their environment and learn by being exposed to a variety of toys/experiences that will challenge their thinking skills and support the process of learning. Students will learn strategies for designing purposeful, and well-designed spaces that support children’s cultural identity, concepts of the world, social success, and holistic learning.

  • Practicum 1

    Practicum experiences will be closely tied to classroom learning and students will be expected to apply theory into practice. An initial full-day orientation session will be held at the college site so students in this initial placement will have the opportunity to become fully aware of placement expectations and expected outcomes. Students will be encouraged to engage in reflective practice throughout the work experience and develop their own professional style and philosophical views of teaching and learning. In this first placement, the focus for students will be to gain experience in an early childhood setting, to demonstrate professional behaviour and to use observation skills to develop and practice basic skills, as well as apply their developing knowledge about children to the child care setting. Students will be expected to complete various assignment directly related to the first semester topics. Program faculty and supervising staff will communicate regularly regarding student progress and each placement includes an evaluation process which will affect classroom learning and practical experience.

  • Practicum 2

    Practicum experiences will be closely tied to classroom learning, and in this placement, students will integrate theory into practice. Students will be expected to apply techniques of classroom management and positive child guidance, program planning, interaction strategies as well as professional communication strategies with children, parents and co-workers. Greater emphasis will be placed on students using child development knowledge and observation skills. Students will actively participate in all activities (small group, circles, transitions, lunch, playground time, etc.) and will be expected to take a more active role in guiding children’s behaviours and to implement simple activities with guidance. Students will be expected to complete various assignments directly related to the semester learning topics.

  • Practicum 3

    Building on previous practicum experience, students are now actively working with children in a supervised practice situation with emphasis on observation, reading skills, planning and program development. Students now demonstrate understanding of the structure and functioning of a regulated child care facility. They will demonstrate active engagement and skills working with peers related to curriculum/program planning; observing and interpreting behaviour; managing transitions and routines; self-evaluation and working as a member of a professional team.

  • Practicum 4

    Practicum expectations will be closely tied to classroom topics and prior learning. Students in this placement will participate in their last placement that will allow for a wider range of opportunities in inclusion, administration and family-centered practice. Students will be able to accept placement within early intervention, family resource programs or child care administration depending on their interests and future goals. Students will further develop as a competent, knowledgeable early childhood educator and take on increasing responsibility with minimal support. Students will complete assignments directly related to current semester topics.

  • Practicum Review Seminar

    This program period is a dedicated resource that allows students to attend an overall program review session which will cover all aspects of the practicum experience. These three days will include review of topics covered in all 4 practicum sessions.

  • Practicum Seminar

    These four seminars are meant to support student’s experiences during field placement. Students will be introduced to the seminar experience and discuss their roles and involvement during placement. The instructor guiding the seminar will provide specific feedback so placement experiences can be put into proper context. Requirements for placements will be reviewed, such as confidentiality, supervisor contacts, journal requirements, and other assignments. Students will actively participate in practicum seminars where they will share ideas and experiences with their peers through guided discussion and activities. Facilitated seminars will allow students to exchange ideas for working with young children and practice interpersonal skills to develop professional learning. Students will also have opportunity to develop and share resources to support their work with children and families. The practicum seminar will be held part-way through each of the four practicum placements so students can receive timely feedback.

  • Principles of Health, Safety, & Nutrition

    This course focuses on elements which have a profound influence on children’s health and well-being, particularly in the early years when children are most vulnerable to environmental influences (University of New Brunswick Early Childhood Research and Development Team 2008, p. 14). Students will learn to recognize signs of abuse and will receive instruction in child abuse protocols developed by the Department of Community Services. Good nutrition and well-planned routines are essential to children’s healthy development. Students will learn how to plan and assess healthy meals and snacks, introduce new foods and implement effective routines in a child care setting. Students will receive instruction in the Nova Scotia Manual for Food & Nutrition in Regulated Child Care Settings to prepare for application of these skills during the practicum sessions.

  • Professional Identity, Ethics, and Interpersonal Skills

    This course introduces students to the professional aspect of an early childhood educator. Students explore ethical issues and ethical decision making in the field of early childhood education. Students will develop their professional knowledge and skills, and discover that working in partnership with children, families, and communities is the best way to ensure that all children experience positive learning opportunities. Learning will target communication styles, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, working with teams and influencing others, and workplace diversity and intercultural communication.

  • Responsive Relationships in Early Childhood Settings

    This course offers a framework for engaging in responsive caregiving with children from infancy through school age and provides the student with the opportunity to demonstrate and evaluate skills, strategies and knowledge they have acquired in the planning and implementing of developmentally appropriate activities and engage in meaningful and positive interactions with children. Using responsive caregiving as a foundation, students will examine play experiences, reflective practice, and inquiry, in relation to theories and methods of working with young children.

  • Strategies for Inclusion and Support

    This course is foundational in familiarizing the student with historical and emerging perspectives, challenges, and approaches/frameworks within the field of inclusion. Students will have the opportunity to research and challenge a variety of approaches to inclusion and explore the selection and use of appropriate assessment materials and intervention techniques for working with children who have special needs. A family-centered approach, which focuses on promoting social interactions among children will be taken. A variety of developmental characteristics of exceptionalities and perspectives regarding special needs will be explored. This course will introduce students to the tiered public health model of promotion, prevention, and intervention practices, and will focus on implementing targeted social emotional supports and intensive intervention. Students will be reintroduced to child abuse protocols developed by Department of Community Services.

job market

Graduates may obtain careers in various sectors such as Early Childhood Educator in licensed centers, Early Childhood Educator in Pre-Primary, Inclusion Support Worker, Owner/Operator of a Dayhome Child Care Center, Inclusion Coordinator, Assistant Director of Licensed Child Care, Director of Licensed Childcare Center, Program Coordinator for Licensed Childcare Centers, Early Childhood Education Instructor (Post Secondary Education Level).

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment.

As of April 1st, Students who graduate from the CBBC ECE program with their ECE Level 2 will enter the sector making $21.43/per hour and will get a 3% raise yearly. This is a significant increase from the flat rate of $17/hr without guarantee of any raise.

For more information visit: https://explorecareers.novascotia.ca/occupation/200

This program prepared me and gave me the confidence to enter the real business world. The close knit atmosphere CBBC has, made me very comfortable. Each and every staff member at CBBC was extraordinarily helpful on my journey in obtaining a full-time Administrative Assistant position in Cape Breton. Courtney MacPhail Administrative Assistant / Offshore Technical Services

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