Early Childhood Education: Special Needs Educator

The Early Childhood Education: Special Needs Educator program comprehensive, hands-on training program that combines courses from both the Early Childhood Education certificate program and the Special Needs Specialization diploma.

It takes caring, compassionate, and patient people to work with children who have special needs. It also requires specific training to ensure all children in an ECE professional's care are receiving the care they need and deserve. The Early Childhood Education: Special Needs Educator program gives ECE professionals a broader range of skills that they can use in any ECE setting. Whether working in a public preschool or a private daycare, early childhood educators can benefit greatly from this ECE diploma. 

Graduates of the 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.

Job Opportunities

  • Daycare Supervisor
  • Daycare Worker
  • Preschool Supervisor
  • Childcare Worker
  • Early Childhood Supervisor
  • Early Childhood Program Director

Program Courses

Code Course description
ECE4050 Administration Skills for Child Care Centers
This module prepares students in the administrative duties of a preschool 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.
ECE4000 Advanced Child Growth and 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, development and individual differences using a case study approach.
ECE4060 Advanced Health, Safety and 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.
ECE1170 Art 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.
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
CES4 Career & Employment Strategies
This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course. It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer. Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identify employment opportunities. Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the workplace and to describe these skills to a prospective employer. Students are videotaped during a mock interview and participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.
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. There is a one-week, full-time observation included in this module where the student will be able to practice observation techniques in preparation for doing a child study. Through 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.
ECE1120 Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ECE4070 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-centered approach, which focuses on promoting social interactions among children, will be taken.
ECE1150 Guidance, Caring and Behavior 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.
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.
ECE4010 Interacting with Families, School and 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.
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 child care facilities and child care facility staff. Students complete assignments to build practical understanding of licensing, staff qualifications, educator/child ratio and activities.
ECE1190 Introduction to Practicum
Expectations, documentation, policies and procedures highlight this module as preparation for practicum placements. Students meet with Sponsor Supervisors at their placement site to build 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 first ECE practicum experience. *Included as part of practicum hours as approved by the ministry.
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.
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 structure, 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.
ECE1140 Child Study Observation Practicum
A two-week Observation Practicum supervised by a certified Early Childhood Educator (Sponsor Supervisor) with additional observation and evaluation by ECE Faculty member from Vancouver Career College. The focus will beon 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.
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.
ECE2100 Foundations Practicum I: Language and Art
This is a formative, 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.
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 Vancouver Career College.
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 fulfillment of client needs.
ECE4080 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.
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 studies activities into planning for children. Universal family units, social sensitivity and multiculturalism are covered in detail. Students will complete assignments to further their exploration and understanding of social studies learning activities.
ECE4090 Special Needs Practicum
An integrated community-based practicum, supervised by a Certified Special Needs Educator with additional observation and evaluation by ECE Faculty from Vancouver Career College. This laboratory course provides the student with opportunities for the development and implementation of comprehensive projects that demonstrate advanced professional knowledge and practice.
SSS4 Student Success Strategies
Students will gain a better understanding of themselves through an exploration of their personal attributes, transferable skills and learning styles. This course will introduce techniques for time, conflict, and stress management and develop interpersonal communication skills. Fundamental study and motivation skills will be covered, preparing students to excel in their program of choice.
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