Early Childhood Education (ECE) Diploma

Gain the required knowledge to work alongside children, interact with families and understand family units.

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ECE students work with children during practicums, providing valuable work experience.
Program available in Vernon this fall - apply today!


  • Kelowna
  • Vernon
  • Salmon Arm
  • Distance
View schedule and campus details
  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered



Delivery options


  • International students eligible

Tuition and fees

2023-24: $8,792.27 (Kelowna, entire program), $8,915.72 (Vernon, entire program)

Program details

The four-semester diploma program prepares students as early childhood educators to work in a variety of environments for the care and education of young children. The foundation of the OC ECE curriculum is the BC Early Learning Framework. Respect for community and the important relationship we create with the environment in which we live, play, and work is embedded throughout all the ECE courses.

The educational experience focuses on the collaborative skills of the early childhood educator and responsive relationships with children, their families, and the community. The program includes a balance of classroom theory, experiential learning, pedagogical documentation, and reflective practice assignments. Each semester, students complete practice education in local childcare and early learning centers.

Graduates of this diploma program will meet the requirements of the British Columbia Early Childhood Educator Registry for achieving certification as an Early Childhood Educator, as well as a Special Needs Educator. Upon the completion of the additional ECDE239 - Practicum for Infant Toddler Specialty, requirements for certification as an Infant/Toddler Educator will also be met. More information about is available from the Government of British Columbia.

Graduates of a Diploma in Early Childhood Education may apply for block transfer credit to continue into degree programming at other B.C. post-secondary institutions where established agreements are in place. For further information on post-diploma opportunities, please contact the OC Department of Early Childhood Education.

Practicum experiences are an integral part of Early Childhood Education programs with mandatory attendance requirements for practicum hours.  Descriptions of each practicum course are included in the program outline.  ɫɫɫƬ will be assigned to a practicum site which will be located in the Okanagan Valley or surrounding areas.  Transportation to and from practicum locations are the student’s responsibility.

ɫɫɫƬ looking for financial support to access this program are encouraged to explore the links below and/or contact HealthPrograms@okanagan.bc.ca for assistance. 

Campus Start date Schedule
Distance Jan. 02, 2024

This intake is offered as part of the Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL) model. The WIL delivery is for students who are currently employed at a childcare center as a Responsible Adult or an ECE Assistant and looking to upgrade their qualifications

Kelowna Sep. 03, 2024
Salmon Arm Sep. 03, 2024
Vernon Oct. 28, 2024

Admission requirements

Academic Admission Requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for one year as of the first day of classes.

  • English 12 with minimum 60% or .

General Requirements

  • Valid First Aid Certificate that meets the ) for the duration of the program.
  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.
  • Completion of the ECE Program Information and Student Questionnaire Form. Instructions will be sent to applicants by Admissions to complete this form.
  • ɫɫɫƬ in this program engage actively in laboratory practice, acting both as patient/client and as caregiver in simulated situations. Notwithstanding all specific program prerequisites, Okanagan College reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant when, in the opinion of Okanagan College, there is sufficient and substantiated evidence, medical or otherwise, to conclude that by granting admission Okanagan College would jeopardize the safety of clients under student care or would otherwise be negligent in providing for the safety and well-being of clients, agency staff or other students.
  • ɫɫɫƬ entering into the Early Childhood Education program should review Okanagan College policy information on clinical, practicum and external placements.

Other notes and recommendations:

  • All applicants are strongly advised to ensure their immunization status is current for work in child care settings. Some child care organizations may ask for proof of immunization records as a requirement for a practicum placement.
  • All applicants are asked to review the Health and Social Development Requisite Skills and Abilities Checklist and will be asked to submit this form to the department at the start of the program. ɫɫɫƬ in this program engage actively in practical skills development in simulated situations and will participate in practicum placements that require the safe care of vulnerable children.
  • ɫɫɫƬ will be responsible for costs of travel to off-site facilities for scheduled field-trips, observation assignments and practicum placements.

Program outline

Semester 1

ECDE 111 - Interpersonal and Personal Communication Skills
ECDE 112 - Child Development Conception to 3 years
ECDE 113 - Child Development 3-12 years of Age
ECDE 114 - Planning for Early Childhood Education
ECDE 115 - The Early Childhood Profession
ECDE 116 - Observing and Documenting Children's Development
ECDE 117 - Observing and Documenting Children's Development Practicum

Semester 2

ECDE 121 - Group Process
ECDE 122 - Health, Safety and Nutrition
ECDE 123 - Families
ECDE 124 - Guiding and Caring
ECDE 129 - Practicum II

Semester 3

ECDE 211 - Professionalism
ECDE 212 - Advanced Program Planning
ECDE 213 - Working with Families and Community
ECDE 214 - Practices in Infant Toddler Care
ECDE 219 - Practicum III

Semester 4

ECDE 222 - Developmentally-Responsive Environments for Under Threes
ECDE 223 - Administration
ECDE 224 - Inclusive Practice Theories
ECDE 225 - Inclusive Practice Strategies
ECDE 229 - Practicum IV


Graduation from the Early Childhood Education diploma program requires successful completion of the courses in the program outline.

Minimum passing grade in all components is 70%.

Additional information

View the official Calendar details and policies
Learn more about the department
View the Tuition and fees page


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