"I feel like I have a career now instead of just a job. I would recommend CDI to anyone looking to start a new career." - Allison E., CDI Graduate

Program Info
An early childhood education career is rewarding, fun, and dynamic. Prepare for a future working in a daycare setting with CDI College's Basic Early Childhood certificate program. By the end of the program, students will meet the requirements to obtain the Child Development Worker certification through Alberta Children And Youth Services, Child Development Branch.

The certificate program covers child development, relationships, English courses, programming and activities. Students will be taught to organize and manage lesson plans for young children, including fine arts, expressive arts, health and safety, storytelling, and self-esteem building. Interpersonal communications, organization, time management, and stress management skills are also developed.

Students participate in a 430-hour practicum in order to gain hands-on experience in a real-world childcare setting. Graduates of this program will be qualified for daycare jobs or may seek work in other child-oriented service centres.
This program is 82 weeks in length.
Job Opportunities
  • Daycares
  • Preschools
  • Community Centres
"I feel like I have a career now instead of just a job. I would recommend CDI to anyone looking to start a new career." - Allison E., CDI Graduate
Program Courses

The program outline below is for Alberta .Click here to see the outlines for Québec, British Columbia and Ontario.

Code Course Name Hours
  • EC05 Child Development II 18

    • Major theories in the field of ECE (Piaget, Erikson, etc.) from birth onwards will be addressed in depth, building on initial understanding acquired. The students will progress in their understanding as it relates to ages and stages of children from preschool to school age. Observation techniques will be a primary focus and the adult learner will participate in numerous observation activities, refining their skills and applying information gathered to their work with children. Understanding developmental affirmations to enhance healthy development and transition from preschool to school age will also be addressed.
  • EC06 Child Development Through Play 12

    • This course will explore child creative development and how play fulfils a child’s developmental needs as he/she progresses from one level of development to the next. Selection and the use of age-appropriate programs for children will be explored. The course will look at such specific play areas as blocks, sand and water. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to apply developmental concepts to programming for young children and will be able to break down the tasks of an activity to developmental skill areas.
  • EC01 Childhood Development: Infant, Toddler, Preschool 30

    • This course will focus on developmental ages and stages from birth to preschool. Course content is divided into three groupings: Infant, Toddler and Preschool. Students will become familiar with the various developmental areas (physical/motor, intellectual/cognitive, social-emotional, language) with an emphasis on recognizing developmental milestones. Distinguishing and understanding the interrelatedness of these developmental areas will be discussed. Students will be "introduced" to key theories in child development. Observation as a means of acquiring information on a child’s developmental progress will also be introduced. Further in depth study on early childhood theory and observation will be continued in the student’s program of study.
  • EC23 Communication: Interpersonal 15

    • This is a hands-on, experiential course where the student will learn about the components of communication and evaluate personal communication style, strengths and areas needing development. Individual personal styles of communication as it related to developing positive, healthy relationships with young children will be explored in depth. Students will participate in several skill building activities and exercises that promote sensitivity to others and a deeper understanding of personal communication patterns. Models of conflict resolution will be presented and students will acquire a deeper understanding of learned patterns of communication behavior (both functional and dysfunctional). Several factors influencing personality development and communication styles will be presented as the student deepens in their understanding of the dynamics within relationships. Other topics discussed are: components of giving and receiving feedback, blocks and bridges to effective communication, assertiveness vs. aggressive behavior and body language.
  • EC17 Creativity 9

    • Students will discuss the concepts and definitions of creativity and its value in every area of programming for young children. In order to foster creative growth skills in children, the caregiver will encourage flexibility and fluency, sensitivity, use of imagination and create an atmosphere where the child is willing to take risks and gain experience in using materials creatively
  • EC27 Day Book Application and Observation I 215

    • A practicum supervisor will visit the student to observe how the student attends to the physical and developmental needs of young children. It is expected that the student will demonstrate skills and knowledge relative to course work taken. The student will receive feedback on these observations. These placements will take place at the work-site of the student.
  • EC28 Day Book Application and Observation II 215

    • A practicum supervisor will visit the student to observe how the student attends to the physical and developmental needs of young children. It is expected that the student will demonstrate skills and knowledge relative to course work taken. The student will receive feedback on these observations. These placements will take place at the work-site of the student.
  • EC14 Developing Age Appropriate Activities 12

    • Students will review the developmental stages of infants, toddlers and preschoolers as they apply to planning activities in an age-appropriate program. Students will actively explore how one activity can be adapted for different age groups and be developmentally challenging. Students will utilize resources to develop a file on age-appropriate activities.
  • EC03 Developing Self-Esteem in Children 15

    • This course will provide the student with instruction on the developmental process of a child’s self-image. Techniques and ideas will be presented to enable the caregiver to encourage and facilitate the establishment of strong and positive personal self-esteem in the young child. Theory as it relates to the correlation between a child’s self esteem and specific nurturing, structuring practices will be presented. The model "Self-Esteem A Family Affair," based on developmental principals and application in early childhood, will be the primary source of study.
  • EC25 English I 23

    • This course involves a general progression reading, writing and speaking skills at a post-secondary level. Students will write journal entries and paragraphs and will demonstrate competencies in functional writing skills of business and letters, resumes and form completion. Speaking skills will include oral presentations, introductions and interviews.
  • EC26 English II 22

    • The overall objective of this course is to strengthen reading, writing and speaking skills at the post-secondary level in order to further enhance adult student performance at school and in the work place. Students will write essays, build on their strengths in public speaking and report on assigned readings.
  • EC15 Fine Arts 12

    • This course will enable the students to increase their appreciation of fine arts in providing a well-balanced and developmentally-sound program for children in group care. Topics include making and using puppets in dramatic play and musical experiences; setting up art, sound and listening centers; and using creative media in modelling activities.
  • EC22 Guiding Child Behaviour II 18

    • In this course, students will review key concepts addressed in Introduction to Guiding Behavior, in addition to receiving advanced instruction and practice as it relates to the understanding of child behavior and the development of a healthy discipline model. Changes of behavior and relationships during the transition from preschool to school age will be discussed and explored. Behaviors as it relates to changing needs in the early school years will be identified. This course will provide the student with an understanding and knowledge of situational differences as they relate to various family constellations (single parent, blended and traditional family models, to name a few) and possible effects on child behavior and relationships. Celebrating the "growing-changing child" as he/she develops a sense of personal power and independence vs. getting embroiled in power struggles will be discussed.
  • EC04 Health, Safety and Nutrition 9

    • This course focuses on acquiring specific information and practice that will assist the caregiver in creating a safe and healthy environment for young children. Information and resources are provided that focus on specific nutritional needs, possible hazards in the home and work place, specific dangers to children in different stages of growth, and emergency strategies and responses. The primary aim of this course is to provide the caregiver with information that will assist them in creating the safest possible surroundings for children and adults alike. This course contains both a prevention and crisis-intervention component.
  • EC11 Introduction to Expressive Arts 19

    • Students will be introduced to the value of music, dance, drama and visual art activities which help develop the child’s ability to express themselves in a non-verbal way. Aesthetic growth is accomplished by having the young child participate directly in a wide variety of quality experiences through sounds, instruments, mime, art and body movement. Students will explore ways of enhancing these forms of expression in children.
  • EC20 Introduction to Guiding Behaviour: Infant Toddler, Preschool 20

    • The goal of this course is to develop a positive discipline model based on the students’ understanding of developmental ages and stages of child development. Students learn to use affirmation, encouragement vs. praise, natural and logical consequences, active-listening, I-messages and problem ownership to successfully encourage independence and individual problem solving skills in young children. The overall goal of this course is to provide the care environment, where the young child strengthens relationships with self and others. Current models promoting "healthy discipline" will be explored.
  • EC09 Introduction to Program Planning 24

    • This course introduces students to the values and various methods of planning a developmental program for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Emphasis is placed on understanding children in group care, while meeting their individual needs. Topics include child and teacher directed activities; planning learning opportunities during routines, transition times, field trips and walks; program organization (files, charts, etc.) and familiarization with the Alberta Children’s Services guide. Approaches to planning, such as themes, projects, bubble charts and semantic webbing will be introduced.
  • EC02 Language Development 12

    • This course will explore various strategies as it relates to language development in early childhood. The four major areas of language development will be studied as it relates to listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will develop an understanding of the six-step consequence of language development and will learn how to apply this learning to the planning and implementation of listening games and activities, stimulating imagination, curriculum planning and age-appropriate materials. The critical importance and purpose of literacy and developing this at an early age will be discussed.
  • EC08 Literature and the Developing Child 12

    • This course has been designed to give the caregiver up-to-date information regarding a wide variety of literature as it relates to specific developmental ages and stages. Acknowledging that books have unlimited influence on children, students will leave this course with resource information as to specific titles, authors and how to access the same. Guidance as it relates to appropriate selection will also be provided. This is a hands-on course continually in revision as new books and authors appear on the market. Students will acquire information as to literary resources specific to the developmental level of children.
  • EC19 Personal and Professional Development I 15

    • This course focuses on "what is a professional" in a field of child care and "what constitutes a professional attitude and professional behavior". Students explore previous and current attitudes and behaviors related to past and current work performance and identify both strengths and areas needing further development. Time management skills and strategies, dealing with authority figures, a professional code of ethics and conduct both on and off the job focused on. A caregiver’s role and responsibility as it relates to understanding and detecting symptoms of child abuse will also be discussed.
  • EC10 Play 12

    • The nature of children’s play is believed to be influenced by the child’s developmental level as well as social, historical and cultural factors. Students will be introduced to developmental play theory, types of play and social play from the sensory motor through cooperative and competitive play. The role of the adult in fostering a healthy climate and using teachable moments to enhance and utilize prop boxes for play situations in day care settings is also examined.
  • EC12 Program Ideas and Methods 20

    • A practical presentation of subject related resources that will enhance a stimulation of the child-centered environment. The instructor will provide the student with season ideas, multicultural celebrations, expressive art activities, crafts and rhymes. Students will apply these ideas in their own setting and report on their effectiveness.
  • EC16 Program Ideas and Methods II 16

    • This course is an extension of Program Ideas and Methods I with an emphasis on the students sharing and presenting program ideas from their expanded resource base. Students are expected to research activities appropriate to specific age groups. Students will gain confidence as they give and receive feedback related to planning and presenting activities to children.
  • EC13 Program Planning 15

    • Students will review overall objectives of program planning and build on existing skills in organizing and creating a child-centered environment. Planning and implementing indoor and outdoor activity centers which will allow infants, toddlers and preschoolers opportunities for choosing their own activities will be explored. Topics will include: the specific functions of activity centers in meeting children’s developmental needs; types of centers; the specific knowledge and skills children develop when using centers. Students will further develop planning approaches utilizing a variety of resource materials.
  • EC18 Story Telling 9

    • Storytelling is one of the most vital means by which our cultural heritage is passed from one generation to another. The storyteller brings the story to life through voice, choice of words, pacing and body language. Students will research stories that have a few clearly defined characters, repetition, participation and a clear sequence of events. Using a variety of techniques, students will experience the telling of stories to the class and their daycare setting.
  • EC24 Stress Management 12

    • This course focuses on "what is stress" and the importance of stress in our lives. Through participation in numerous exercises and after having completed a personal evaluation, students will develop an understanding of their personal responses to stress, symptoms of unhealthy stress, responses and ways to modify same. Relaxation techniques in order to more effectively deal with stress will be presented and experienced. Students will be reminded of the role that nutrition plays in stress in their lives (both personal and professional). Developing an understanding of the "burn-out" and "rust-out" syndrome will also be discussed.