Pre-Early Childhood Education

Post-Secondary Preparation
Credential Earned: Training Certificate
Campus: Distance
Program Length: 10 weeks

Program Code: M108


Turn your love of children into an exciting career move.

If you are looking to explore a rewarding career, consider educating children as they grow and explore the world.

Sault, Cambrian, Northern, Confederation and Boreal Colleges have co-developed an exciting new 10-week Pre- Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certificate program to deliver to students across Northern Ontario.

This free program uses a blend of online and in-person delivery to allow for flexibility in your learning experience and includes a paid work placement to give you the experience and applied practice that you will need to succeed.

The program begins with 6 weeks of online training where you will complete 5 online essential ECE skills courses. These courses have been developed by ECE faculty experts at our colleges and are each 12-15 hours in length, which gives you plenty of time to achieve and maintain your work/life balance.

Then you will have a 2-week period to focus on required workplace skills training that are needed to work successfully in a childcare setting. The training is provided with the college and community partners who are standing by to help you boost your learning.

The final 2 weeks of the program will be your opportunity to try out all of your new skills with 70 hours of paid placement in a licensed childcare facility. This placement time will be counted towards a 2-year ECE diploma program if you decide to take your education further. You will also take part in regular seminars with your classmates and professors during your placement.

This is an opportunity to try out a career as an Early Childhood Education assistant before taking the plunge into a full ECE college program.

This Employment Ontario Project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario


Contact Information

Emily Disley, Program Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the requirements I need to take this program?

There are no education requirements! You will need access to a computer and internet for your online training. You will also need to provide proof of immunization and a Vulnerable Sector Check to participate in the placement component.


What will this program cost to take?

This program is free. That means that there is no cost to take the training courses, or for learning materials. If you are required to attend placement, or travel for some training, you will need to pay for your own transportation.

Can I take the ECE program at Northern after I complete this training?

Yes, this program will give you hours towards your placement in our 2-year ECE program, and you will have already had experience in preparing your documents for placement.

How will I know where to go for placement?

Your program facilitator may be able to provide you with a list of possible agencies that can provide you with placement. The final decision is made by the workplace, not by Northern College. You will be responsible for communicating with your desired placement agency, as well as arranging transportation to and from your placement, and any other costs.

How much will I be paid for my placement?

Our research shows that experiences ECE Assistants in Ontario are making $17.15- $19.20 per hour. Your placement location will have more information on their specific policies and rates of pay for placement students. The placement is for a total of 70 hours.

What will my placement schedule be?

Your placement schedule will be determined through a discussion between the agency and yourself. Your program facilitator may be able to guide you with some possible expectations for placement schedules.

How do I get accommodations and learning support for my training?

Northern College has Accessibility Advisors available to assist you. Your program facilitator will be able to direct you to them for help.

When can I start my training?

You can start in October of this year or January 2023, so please get in touch soon to apply.

Admission Requirements

You must be a Canadian Citizen to qualify for this funded program.


Requirements for Field Work Placement

It is important to note that this program requires a field work component. While the intent is for placements to be arranged in the student’s own community, when this is not possible, alternate communities will need to be considered. Students are responsible for the costs of travel to and from field work placement sites, parking costs, etc. A dress code is in effect during all lab practice sessions and during the field work component of the programs. All course work must be successfully completed prior to field work placements.

In order to prepare you for fieldwork placement, you will be required to have a current resume and cover letter. Fieldwork placement (FWP) agencies may require additional documentation in order for you to begin FWP.  The specific documents will be made known to you in your program. A recent Vulnerable Sector Check may be required prior to the start of classes in September.

Students who do not comply with the immunization requirements may not be allowed into the field work settings and as such may not be able to complete the placements and practicums required for graduation from the program. CPR re-certification, WHMIS, criminal reference checks and immunization updates are required annually. Students will not be allowed on placement lab component if documentation is not completed.

To be eligible for participation in field work practice, students must not have been convicted of any criminal offence for which that person has not been pardoned. An unpardoned criminal record may result in inability to participate in fieldwork practice courses and will prevent the student from graduating. Any costs for these tests/certifications will be the responsibility of the applicant.

What you learn

EC5001 – Introduction to Child Development

This Micro-credential (course) provides students with a brief introduction to child development.  This course is designed for students in a pre-apprenticeship program demonstrating an interest in studying early childhood education and gaining knowledge about children’s development and the importance of the early years. Students will review the theories of development along with an overview of prenatal development and possible complications in the developing fetus. Students will study the developmental stages from birth to early adolescence while considering all the developmental domains (social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development).

EC5011 – Introduction to Early Years Pedagogy

This Micro-credential (course) provides students with a brief introduction to How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years and Child Care. This course is designed for students in a pre-apprenticeship program demonstrating an interest in studying how to support children and families in the early years. Students will explore how to implement curriculum and pedagogy while working within the 4 Foundations of well-being, expression, belonging and engagement. Students will also begin to practice skills necessary in the process of pedagogical documentation. They will also examine the importance of building relationships and will engage in reflective practice, reflecting on their own personal biases that could affect their interactions while working with children and families.

EC5021-Introduction to Child Care Legislation

This online, asynchronous, micro-credential has been designed to provide learners with a brief introduction to the Early Years and Child Care Act (CCEYA), professionalism, and the Code of Ethics.  Learners will explore aspects of professionalism in the role of an Early Childhood Educator, including advocacy, self-reflection, ethics, and standards. Additionally, learners will explore Ontario’s currently early years systems and framework, including legislation and the regulatory body.

EC5031 – Communications for Childcare Workers

This online, asynchronous, micro-credential provides students with a brief introduction to skills needed to become an effective communicator and explore the importance of teamwork in the field of early childhood education. This course is designed for students in a pre-apprenticeship program, interested in discussing the importance of relationships and examining various communication strategies before engaging in simulations used to practice these skills.

EC5041 Working with Children with Exceptionalities

This Micro-credential (course) provides students with a brief introduction to working with children and youth who display various categories of exceptionality.  This course is designed for students in a pre-apprenticeship program demonstrating an interest in studying exceptionalities for the first time It is expected that students will acquire knowledge of the inclusive approach and legislation, the importance of partnerships, the role of the early childhood educator as well as the process of early identification.  A preview of strategies that can be used when working with children in an inclusive environment will also be presented for reflection.

EC5051 – Pre-ECE Preparation for Placement

This online synchronous and asynchronous micro-credential has been designed to provide students with a brief introduction into how to create developmentally appropriate curriculum that engages young children and explores the process of reflective practice.  This micro-credential is for students who are in the Pre-ECE Certificate Program, demonstrating an interest in studying early childhood education and gaining skills in relationship building with children.

EC5044 – The Pre-ECE Fieldwork Placement

Certificate Program provides a valuable opportunity for students to experience working with children in a childcare or kindergarten setting. The fieldwork placement experience enables students to apply the knowledge and demonstrate skills taught through the modules completed in the pre-ECE certificate program. Students are given the opportunity to experience the valuable and essential work that early childhood educators can provide in a variety of early learning environments.

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