Native Education

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Indigenous Early Childhood Education Diploma

Program Description

In this 11-months certificate program, students prepare for a rewarding career in BC early childhood education and childcare. Students will gain foundational knowledge about the field of early childhood education (ECE) in a program that is infused and centers on Indigenous Knowledge and ways of being. Students will acquire the necessary skills and competencies for successful and multidirectional career paths in ECE. Course content includes Indigenous approaches to childrearing; learning how to put the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF) and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework (IELCC) into practice; and how to support and promote Indigenous children’s identity development and connections with their Nation’s cultural practices and traditions.

Coursework in this program spans topics such as supporting Indigenous families; Science, Technology, Art, Engineering, and Math (STAEM); child growth and development; pedagogical narration; and advocacy. Students are also required to complete 425 hours of practicum experience during this program, where they gain the opportunity to make professional connections and put classroom theory into practice.

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Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Indigenous Early Childhood Educator Certificate, the learner will be able to

1. Connect Indigenous children to cultural practices, traditions, and knowledges related to their Nations and Peoples

2. Students gain experience during practicum placements where they build relationships with children and professionals in the ECE community.

3. Support children’s language and literacy development, particularly Indigenous languages, and vocabulary

4. Create engaging lesson plans for activities and circle time, with focuses on STEAM, language and literacy, and play-based practices

5. • Support and plan for children’s health, safety, and nutritional needs, including snack and meal planning

5. Communicate effectively and professionally, building relationships with children and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, mentors, and staff

Become an Early Childhood Educator

Get the hands-on training you need to make a difference in the lives of children.

What topics will be covered?

Some topics covered in this program include:

  • Child growth and development
  • Sociocultural theories and teaching practices
  • Indigenous perspectives on childrearing and decolonizing education
  • Histories of Indigenous Peoples in so-called BC and Turtle Island more broadly
  • The impact of settler-colonialism and residential schools on ECE
  • Indigenous resilience, resurgence, and language revitalization
  • STEAM, land-based and outdoor education
  • Diversity of family forms and community
  • Neurodivergence, exceptionalities, support needs and childhood dis/abilities
  • Introduction to research methods in ECE
  • The BC Early Learning Framework (2019)
  • The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework (2018)
  • Pedagogical narration and documentation
  • Basic requirements for supporting children’s health, safety, and nutrition
  • Licensing, ethics, policies, and regulations in the field of ECE
  • Advocacy, trauma-informed practice and social justice in ECE
  • Food Safe and First Aid certification

Occupation upon Completion

After graduating from this program, students apply to the ECE Registry for their one-year Early Childhood Educator Certificate. Once this certification is received, students can work in licensed early learning settings, including preschools and daycares with children ages 3-5. Once students have completed 500 hours of either paid or volunteer work at a centre, students can then apply for their five-year license to practice.

Course Descriptions

ECE 101               Child Growth & Development 1                3 credits

ECE 102               ECE Theoretical Foundations                      3 credits

ECE 103               Arts & Music                                                    3 credits

ECE 113               Health, Safety & Nutrition                           3 credits

ECE 120               BC Early Learning Framework                     3 credits

ECE 115               Practicum Seminar 1                                     2 credits

Winter Semester

ECE 111               Guiding & Caring                                            3 credits             

ECE 112               Child Growth & Development 2                 3 credits

ECE 116               Block Practicum 1                                          6 credits

ECE 121               Family & Community Relations                  3 credits

ECE 123               Language & Literacy                                      3 credits

Spring Semester

ECE 122               STEM                                                                 3 credits

ECE 125               Practicum Seminar 2                                     2 credits

ECE 126               Block Practicum 2                                          6 credits

ECE 128               Advocacy                                                          3 credits


Locations of the program


All classes are offered at the NEC campus. Classes are scheduled from 9am-4pm, with a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break and a 1-hour lunch break every day.

Students are responsible for commuting to practicum placement locations, but student preference for practicum locations will be considered. Practicums within Indigenous communities is encouraged. Ideally, students spend the same amount of hours per day at practicum as they would in regular class.

Admission Requirements, Fees & Tuition

High School Applicants
Mature Applicants
Price and Fees
  • Transcript with Grade 12 completion
  • Two Reference Letters
  • Ability to pass CRC
  • TB test Negative
  • Doctor’s note of good health and mental and physical  fitness to work with young children
  • 19 years old or older
  • Written assessment with 60% or higher
  • Two Reference Letters
  • Ability to pass CRC
  • TB test Negative
  • Doctor’s note of good health and mental and physical  fitness to work with young children

If you do not have your High school transcript, and CAAT assessment documents, you can do  the exams at NEC 












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