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Early Childhood Education: Special Needs Educator

Program Duration: 62 weeks

The Early Childhood Education: Special Needs Educator program combines courses from both the ECE and Special Needs Specialization programs.
In this program, students will learn how to work with children with an emphasis on those with special needs through a variety of hands-on training that combines theory and practice. The program covers advanced child growth and development; foundations of working with children with special needs; advanced health, safety, and nutrition; program planning; and more. In order to specialize, students must complete a practicum placement in a special needs setting to develop and implement comprehensive projects that demonstrate their advanced knowledge as well as gain practical experience. Students will also be required to complete observation assignments that will take place in real-world childcare settings, which will be used to complete assignments. These observations hours required by the Ministry of Children & Family Development.
Graduates of our program can acquire a One Year Early Childhood Educator Certification and work full time while collecting the 500 hours required for the next certification, the Five Year Early Childhood Educator Certification.
Admissions Requirements
  • High school graduation or equivalent* OR mature student status**

*From an English language teaching institution.
**19 years of age upon starting classes, and pass college’s English admissions test.


This program has been approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.


Program Courses

CES4 - Career & Employment Strategies

This course looks at the planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up stages of an interview: how people find jobs; employer expectations; presenting an enthusiastic attitude; focusing on the right job; transferable skills; the job interview; effective resume preparation; cover and thank you letters; effective telemarketing; tapping the hidden job market; handling objections; job search management; self-confidence and self-esteem building; mock interviews (video-taped); and individual counselling and coaching.

SSS4 - Student Success Strategies
This course will introduce students to skills and concepts that will help them achieve personal, academic, and career success.
ITC4 - Introduction to Computers
This course is a broad-based introduction to using a personal computer. It teaches the fundamentals of an operating system and the most popular application software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. You will also learn about the Internet, Web browsers, electronic mail and antivirus software. The course is based on the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft office 2013 and a variety of popular software programs for the Internet-related and security-related applications
ECE1100 - Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This module will detail the history of the ECE environment in British Columbia including an overview of the licensing agency and acts and regulations responsible for childcare facilities and childcare facility staff. Students complete assignments to build practical understanding of licensing, staff qualifications, educator/child ratio, and activities. As the course is aptly named, several important regulations, philosophies, and common themes are introduced here and are reinforced throughout the program as well: British Columbia Child Care Sector Occupational Competencies; British Columbia Early Learning Framework; Child Care Licensing Regulation; Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia (ECEBC) Code of Ethics; Child Care BC Act; Community Care and Assisted Living Act; Child Care Subsidy Act; Child Care Subsidy Regulation; Safe Play Space Standard of Practice; Family Child Care Standard of Practice; StrongStart BC early learning programs; Writing across the curriculum; Pedagogical narration and peer review; Creating portfolios; Teaching theories (e.g Reggio Emilia approach, Montessori, etc.).

ECE1110 - Communities, Families and Support Networks

Professional responsibilities and the roles of Early Childhood Educators will be explored. The hierarchy and communication among family-based team members as well as the role of staffing will be addressed. Students will also learn about legal and ethical practice issues, the role of confidentiality, acceptable behaviours, and standards of care. Special topics will include practices of ECE for immigrant and refugee children in BC, application of the Code of Ethics, and the function of the Child Care Resource & Referral Program in communities across BC.

ECE1120 - Communication and Interpersonal Relations
This module will introduce students to positive communication skills, verbal and non-verbal, in an ever-changing diverse and multicultural environment. Communication, conflict resolution, and issue understanding are key elements explored in this module.
ECE1130 - Child Growth and Development I

During this intensive study of all aspects of child development students will gain the knowledge needed to identify typical growth patterns in children. Theories and views related to child development will be covered in depth. Students complete observation assignments to gain insight on childhood development theory in practice. Observation assignments include the collection and analysis of language samples and research to support or refute gender-role stereotyping in early childhood education. An in-depth study of all aspects of child development from infancy to late childhood, students will take a detailed look at theories related to human development and how these theories are related to childhood growth and development. There is also an open and supportive forum to discuss potential fears and concerns students may have as they anticipate their first ECE practicum experience. This course is divided into two distinct sections: a five-week classroom-based course (135 hours); and a two-week language study observation practicum which is ideally scheduled after completion of ECE1180 – Language and Literature. During the classroom portion, a key area of coverage is ‘Observing and Recording: Theory and Practice’ to prepare students for observation and practice education components. Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education.

ECE1140 - Child Study Observation Practicum

This is a two-week observation practicum supervised by a certified early childhood educator (sponsor supervisor) with additional observation and evaluation by an ECE faculty member from the college. The focus will be on workplace conduct, routines and environment, working with children individually, and parent-teacher partnerships, as well as working on a child study of one child focusing on the developmental stages and behaviours of the child.

ECE1150 - Guidance, Caring, and Behaviour Management

This module will develop practitioner skills necessary to provide a positive, safe, and nurturing environment. Strategies for guidance, discipline, and conflict will be examined through in-class work and observation assignments. The course includes a two-day ‘Observation Practicum: What to Do When’. This will require more than five hours for at least two days during the course. Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education.

ECE1160 - Developing Activity Plans
The focus of this module is on the development and implementation of age- and stage-appropriate activities. Students will learn how to set learning objectives and design and evaluate activities and lessons. Ideally this course is studied in the early phase of the program, as the skills learned apply to assignments and study of various subject areas of curriculum covered in the ECE program.
ECE1170 - Arts and Creative Development
This module is centred on understanding and facilitating hands-on arts and crafts experience. Students have the opportunity to place developmental theories into practice throughout this module. Assignments include learning to record the behaviour and actions of children involved in the drawing process (pedagogical narration) as well as building resource files for future use and preparing activity plans.
ECE1180 - Language and Literature
This module aims to develop student understanding about the acquisition of language and the benefits of exposure to literature. Strategies to introduce children to age and content appropriate literature will be covered through the study of early childhood experiences in language arts. The language study observation practicum (part of ECE1130) usually follows this course to apply theory to practice.
ECE1190 - Introduction to Practicum

Expectations, documentation, policies, and procedures highlight this module as preparation for practicum placements. Students meet with sponsor supervisors at placement sites to build their comfort level and discuss facility procedures, practicum assignments, and other requirements. Students also have the opportunity to outline personal goals and objectives and how they expect to achieve them. There is also an open and supportive forum to discuss potential fears and concerns students may have as they anticipate their practicum experience. This course is included in the practicum hours as approved by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

ECE2100 - Foundation Practicum I: Language and Art
This is a formative, three-week integrated community-based practicum, supervised by a certified early childhood educator (sponsor supervisor) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE faculty members from the college. This is an opportunity to put theory into practice in a child-care facility in order to develop competency levels. Emphasis at this formative stage of the program is on language and art.
ECE2110 - Learning Through Play
In play, children represent and transform the world around them, providing other children and adults with a window into their thoughts and perceptions and often helping adults to the see world in new ways. This guiding principle, a key point in the Early Learning Framework and supported by HealthyFamiliesBC, is enveloped into the full ECE program with a comprehensive introduction in this course. This module focuses on the development of strategies based on theories of play to enhance the value of constructive and positive play in the childcare environment.
ECE2120 - Music and Movement

This module deals with physical, social, and emotional growth through a variety of structured music and movement programs. Students record and describe the ways in which children are exposed to music and how it can be utilized to set atmosphere, ease transitions and waiting periods, and guide and redirect behaviour. This course also introduces resources from organizations such as LEAP BC™, that promote healthy child development through physical movement while integrating activity and play with literacy and education during engagement with young children in programs like Move™ and Hop™.

ECE2130 - Drama and Creative Expression
Diverse lifestyles, multi-cultural experiences, and varied social settings are explored through the construct of imaginative play environments. Assignments include the development of play prop boxes that can be used to encourage drama in a childcare facility.
ECE2140 - Science and Math
This module will enable students to build and incorporate science and math activities into the childcare environment. Students will complete assignments to further their exploration and understanding of science and math learning activities. A component of this course also introduces technology applications in the early childhood environment.
ECE2150 - Social Studies
Students focus on key features of social study activities into planning for children. Universal family units, social sensitivity, and multiculturalism are covered in detail. Students will complete assignements to further their exploration and understanding of social studies learning activities.
ECE2160 - Health, Safety, and Nutrition
This module will address proactive measures for reactive methods of addressing illness prevention, disease transmission, abuse, and childhood behaviours such as bullying. Assignments may include practical application such as menu evaluations, shopping assignments, and Occupational Health & Safety Regulation applications, as well as topics related to nutrition, healthy eating programs, and the Canada Food Guide. Students will also take a one-day Emergency Child Care First Aid and CPR program through external certification. Students also will be trained in FoodSafe™ - Level I certification (8 hours). Students should note that some of the training covered in this course will require more than five hours of class time on specific days in the schedule. Students are eligible to apply for an Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certificate after successful completion of this course; this will enable a student to elect to work in the field while completing their ECE education.
ECE2170 - Program Planning and Implementation
Students learn to create program plans that include the setting of short and long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional goals for clients. This module takes a holistic view of assisting in the fulfilment of client needs.
ECE2180 - Planning Indoor and Outdoor Play Environments

The creation of environments, that support, nurture, and care for children in a safe manner is the theme of this module. Students complete observation assignments to examine how to bring learning experiences to the outdoors. The course includes a two-day observation practicum on play environments.

ECE2190 - Practicum II: Summative Practice
During this practicum, students will undergo work-based experience in which they plan and deliver childcare. Students will have numerous opportunities to complete prepared activity plans, observe children at play, observe, and evaluate typical and challenging behaviours. There will be supervision by a certified Early Childhood Educator (Sponsor Supervisor). During this competency-based practicum, students will also be observed and evaluated by an ECE Faculty member from the college.
ECE3100 - Daycare Administration

During this module, students will have the opportunity to debrief on their earlier practicum and observation experiences and review the application and development of skills and core concepts learned throughout the program. Basic centre administration will be covered including budgeting, scheduling, centre structure, and organization, as well as other management skills. A guest speaker (licensing officer) is normally scheduled for this course.

ECE 4000 - Advanced Child Growth & Development
Students will review typical development from birth to six years of age. This module includes a focus on recognition of children who require additional support with an emphasis placed on current theory and research. Students will apply their knowledge of child growth and development and individual differences using a case study approach.
ECE 4010 - Interacting with Families, School, & Community
This module examines the knowledge, strategies, and competencies needed by the early childhood educator to collaborate effectively with families of infants, toddlers, and children who need additional support. The ethics of empowerment of families, professionals, and children is also examined. Students will review the family systems approach, communication skills, and the family-centred care model.
ECE 4050 - Administration Skills for Child Care Centres
This module prepares students in the administrative duties of a pre-school or daycare. Topics such as program philosophy and policy design, financial management, organizational structure, staff development, and relationships with families and community will be highlighted.
ECE 4060 - Advanced Health, Safety, & Nutrition
This module equips the student with knowledge and skills for planning, implementing, and evaluating health practices for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children who need extra support in integrated and infant-toddler settings.
ECE 4070 - Foundations of Working with Children with Special Needs
This module is designed for those requiring specialized skills in the care and guidance of working with children who require additional support. Students will explore the selection and use of appropriate assessment materials and intervention techniques for working with children who have special needs. A family-centred approach, which focuses on promoting social interactions among children, will be taken.
ECE 4080 - Program Planning for Children with Special Needs
The emphasis of this module is on adaptation of special care needs and curriculum development to the various group care environments. Child development principles will provide the basis for program planning and implementation.
ECE 4090 - Special Needs Practicum
An integrated community based practicum supervised by a certified special needs educator (sponsor teacher) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE faculty from the college. This practical experience provides the student with opportunities for the development and implementation of comprehensive projects that demonstrate advanced professional knowledge and practice.

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