Jump start offered for early learning and care courses

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BY MAGGIE ALLISON

Manager of Career Development & Community Initiatives for School District 64

Students in the Gulf Islands will have two opportunities to begin post-secondary training in Early Learning and Care (ELC) while still in high school commencing in February 2022. 

This first-ever dual credit offering is a pilot funded through the Ministry of Education. Dual credit means that students receive both high school and college credit for courses completed. And it is tuition free.

The first option, in partnership with Camosun College, will allow students to enrol in a cluster of courses, earning them 15 college credits and 20 high school credits towards graduation. This cohort will include Tuesday evening classes at the Interurban Campus of Camosun, monthly weekend classes and a one-week campus intensive. This pathway would allow students to get a jump start on their diploma, completing in the spring of 2023. The entire diploma is a two-year, four-semester program totalling 66 credits of study and over 400 hours of applied practice in a practicum setting with children and families.

For a Grade 12 student with a light second semester, this could yield a huge bonus, simply by foregoing a part-time job for one semester.

As a recognized program in B.C., the Camosun ELC Diploma graduate is eligible to apply for both a certificate to practice in B.C. as well as a special educator — based on their final practicum choice — as either an “inclusive care educator” (special needs) or as an infant/toddler educator to work with very young children from birth to age three.

Graduates are prepared to provide leadership and advocacy within the community and have many opportunities for employment in a variety of settings including Early Years Childhood Programs, Outdoor/Nature-based/Forest Preschool and Kindergarten programs, First Nations Head Start programs and school district Strong Start programs as well as working in school district K-2 classes.

These ELC diploma graduates can also receive credits to ladder into select degree programs throughout B.C.: University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, University of the Fraser Valley, Douglas College and Capilano University. 

The second option is to enrol in single courses offered by Vancouver Island University, starting in February. Classes will be a combination of face-to-face and online offerings held Wednesday afternoons at the Cowichan campus of VIU. Sign up to take the one course that allows you to work as a paid ECE assistant in a daycare setting.

If working with children and training as an educator is part of your future, the time to act is now. Spots are limited and early applications are recommended. 

For more information, email me at mallison@sd64.org.

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