Child care certificate program

A Make Children First initiative will allow people to study locally for their Early Child Care Education certificate.

A partnership between Make Children First (MCF), Vancouver Community College (VCC), and School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) will allow local high school students and adults to participate in VCC’s nine-month, full-time Early Child Care Education (ECCE) certificate program.

Those who successfully complete the program will have the training necessary to obtain the Early Childhood Educator Certificate to Practice, and will be qualified to work as educators in licensed child care settings with children aged three to five.

“We’ve had parents and caregivers express a need for childcare in Clinton, Cache Creek, and Ashcroft,” says MCF coordinator Deanna Horsting. “Right now there’s only one licensed child care facility in the area.

“We tried to address that need by getting a daycare going, but we couldn’t get people with the ECCE certification. We decided the only way we could support families was to try to get people trained.”

Horsting says that MCF approached different institutions, and that VCC was the best fit. SD 74 offered free space at Cache Creek Elementary (CCES) for the course, and helped to coordinate everything. “It fits in with the district’s move towards more trades and vocational training,” notes Horsting.

The course will run from September 2016 to June 2017, five days a week, with students able to do their practicum work locally as well. The school district will fund five students in Grades 11 and 12 who want to take the program, and a maximum of 20 students can be accommodated. Horsting says they need a minimum of 11 students to ensure the program goes ahead, and admits they’re not quite there. “Right now we have 10 students,” she says, noting that applications are due in by May 15. However, she adds that if anyone approaches them before the deadline to express an interest, she’s sure they can be accommodated.

Adult applicants need to have their Grade 12 graduation. The ECCE program courses will be dual credit courses for students in Grades 11 and 12, who will also get assistance with their regular courses so they can complete the necessary graduation requirements.

For VCC, the Gold Trail partnership may become a model for future outreach programming which will bring accessible education to populations in remote and rural areas of B.C. It will also support local youth—and adults—in attaining vocational training and finding jobs in their communities.

Horsting notes that SD 74 is prepared to work with both adult and school-aged students to obtain funding assistance to cover the cost of the program. For more information contact District Careers and Transitions Coordinator Karen Miller at