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Early Childhood Education

Fulfil your passion for the care, education and development of children.

An Early Childhood Educator teaches five children the alphabet at a small blue table in a daycare setting.
Start Date:
September & January
Typical Length:
2 Years (varies for part-time studies)

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Early childhood educators plan inclusive programs that help nurture the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of children and their families.

This project-based program was developed to meet the provincial standards for early childhood education training in Nova Scotia. It blends classroom study with applied learning with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children. You learn:

  • The major theories of child care and development within a warm, caring and stimulating environment
  • The knowledge and skills you need to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children in a variety of settings
  • Effective communication strategies for working with children, families, fellow early childhood educators and other professionals
  • How to assess children's abilities and skills to create play-based, inclusive programming that emphasize the development of the whole child as a unique individual

Accelerated Early Childhood Education

There is a part-time accelerated version of this program open to those currently employed in a licensed child care centre or Pre-primary program in Nova Scotia. You must be working at least 15 hours per week with a minimum of two years experience.

View funding and program details and learn how to apply to the Accelerated Early Childhood Education (with PLAR) offering.

Africentric Early Childhood Education

Akerley Campus is offering this program in an entirely Africentric learning environment available to those who self-identify as African Nova Scotian / Black peoples and reside in Nova Scotia. Faculty are respected African Nova-Scotian educators who teach you about the major theories of child care and development. 

Financial support may be available to students enrolled in the program who are in good academic standing. View details about the Africentric Early Childhood Education offering.

Work experience

  • Work experience are mandatory credit courses, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid require a minimum of 520 hours.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience are your responsibility.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • You have the opportunity to spend a significant part of your time with children of all ages, observing and supporting their learning in a variety of settings. This is an important and valued element in your learning portfolio.
  • You can access professional resources, training and support through provincial Early Childhood Development Support Centres. Each centre coordinates professional development activities and is equipped with a variety of resources, including a lending library, research support and educational/digital equipment.

Other info

  • This program is not always offered at the same location each year. Check program locations for upcoming start dates.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.


eCampus synchronous online September 2022: Preference for admission will be given to applicants who reside in the Western Cape Breton (Inverness and Victoria Counties), Northern (Antigonish, Pictou, Guysborough and Richmond Counties), and South Shore (Lunenburg and Queens Counties) regions of Nova Scotia. Tuition and fees will be waived for those admitted to the program from the above noted regions.

Akerley Campus January 2023: This offering is only available to applicants who self-identify as African Nova Scotian / Black peoples and reside in Nova Scotia. Annual bursaries may be available through the African Canadian Services Branch. View bursary details.

September 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Akerley Campus Dartmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist
Burridge Campus Yarmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist
Cumberland Campus Springhill Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available
eCampus -- Part time Asynchronous online Delivered fully online with no scheduled classes. Waitlist This program location has a multi-year waitlist. Contact Admissions for more information.
eCampus -- Full time Synchronous online Delivered fully online with both non-scheduled and scheduled classes. Seats available
Kingstec Campus Kentville Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist
Marconi Campus Sydney Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist

January 2023

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Akerley Campus Dartmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details

Program requirements

  • Completion of Emergency First Aid/CPR Level C.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

Tuition for part-time study option is calculated on a per-course basis and is paid at the beginning of each term.

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

If you have been accepted to the part-time accelerated offering through EECD, view detailed program fees.

Career options

  • Graduates are qualified to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children in licensed childcare settings, pre-primary, school-age programs, Head Start, family resource outlets and child development centres within early intervention and public health services.
  • Graduates may be eligible to work as educational assistants; please check with your desired school board for verification.
  • Many graduates find work providing childcare in private homes, as well as operating in-home daycares.

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ECSP 1000 - Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education
This course provides an overview of the historical, societal, and theoretical origins of early childhood education. Learners will be exposed to the rationale for and process of process of planning, implementing, and evaluating developmentally appropriate programs for children from birth to age twelve in a variety of early learning and care settings. Issues and current dilemmas in early childhood education will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on the Canadian perspective of early childhood education.

ECSP 1002 - Observing and Recording Young Children
This course will provide you with the opportunity to develop skills in observation and appropriate recording of behaviours and physical changes of young children. You will investigate the rationale and processes for making formal documentation and apply the techniques in a variety of early childhood settings.

ECSP 1004 - Aesthetics and Creativity
This course is designed to assist the learner in developing an appreciation of the role of aesthetics and creative art in the overall development of children and the early childhood educator. The learner’s creative expression and sense of aesthetics will be enhanced through “hands-on” experiences with a wide range of materials, techniques and experiences. The learner will select, employ, evaluate and compile a variety of teaching strategies and materials that will enhance the aesthetic and creative development of the child from birth to age twelve.

ECSP 1005 - Positive Child Guidance
This course addresses typical characteristics and needs of children as they proceed through chronological and developmental stages and teaches developmentally appropriate guidance strategies. Emphasis will be placed upon strategies that enhance the child’s self esteem and stimulate the development of self-control. The student will develop strategies which enhance children's self-esteem and assist children in learning about universal values and principles.

ECSP 1006 - Health and Safety
This course will provide opportunities for students to explore appropriate means of implementing the Nova Scotia regulations concerning health and safety in child care settings. The students will plan and implement health promotion and safety strategies when working with children and families. Students will explore the effect that family violence has on young children and recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. Students will also investigate the value of self-care.

ECSP 1008 - Building and Supporting Professional Relationships
This course is designed to enable students to recognize the importance of and to develop strategies for establishing positive communication between parents, peers, child-related professionals and community members. Students will learn the importance of communication and ethical behaviour in creating an atmosphere of trust, respect and professionalism. They will be exposed to current issues, the importance of advocacy, research and trends in early learning and care and related fields.

ECSP 1009 - Emerging Literacy in the Early Childhood Years
This course exposes the student to a variety of language and literacy experiences appropriate for use from infancy through age twelve. Students will review language development as well as gain a sound theoretical basis for planning. Students will implement listening and speaking, reading and storytelling, poetry, flannel stories, puppetry, print-script, reading readiness and early literacy experiences. Emphasis will be placed upon the early childhood educators’ role in promoting language and literacy in a developmentally appropriate setting. Students will discover how to choose methodologies and materials which support an anti-bias approach, within an inclusionary atmosphere of diversity.

ECSP 1010 - Family Studies
During the past few decades, family life in Canada has been undergoing many changes. This course deals with a variety of family challenges and family issues that have a direct relevance to the field of early learning and care. The course theory and assignments as well as class activities and discussions will help learners manage future work situations.

ECSP 1011 - Nutrition for Young Children
This course provides the learner the opportunity to explore nutritional needs of children as well as those of the child care educator. Learners will investigate nutritional planning, purchasing and cost control, safe food handling, feeding and eating habits.

ECSP 1012 - Administering Early Childhood Services
This course is designed to provide students with the basic information required to open, operate and/or manage an early childhood service. Information regarding licensing procedures and provincial legislation for a variety of early childhood programs will be reviewed. Students will gain information on setting and stating policies, writing business plans, budgeting, income tax and designing and will gain information about and practice using a wide range of report forms. In addition, needs assessments and effective marketing and advertising strategies will be studied. Students will participate in a variety of theoretical and practical experiences to facilitate the acquisition of the necessary skills and knowledge.

ECSP 1014 - Applying Developmentally Appropriate Practice
This course provides the student with the opportunity to demonstrate and be evaluated on the skills, strategies and knowledge that they have acquired over the course of the Early Childhood Education program. Emphasis is placed on evaluating the student’s ability to effectively plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities, engage in positive, meaningful interactions with children, co-workers and parents and to act as a responsible role model. In addition, students are required to actively demonstrate professional qualities and knowledge of health and safety practices in all facets of the early childhood setting.

ECSP 1015 - Diverse and Inclusive Practice in ECE
Learners in this course will be introduced to the theoretical constructs and practical considerations underlying the inclusion of young children with diverse needs into early learning and care programs. Emphasis will be placed upon the development and delivery of developmentally appropriate programs that will enhance the overall growth and development of every child. During this course, learners will apply theories and principles of inclusion in an early learning environment.

ECSP 1016 - Music and Movement
Learners will explore the many aspects of music and movement, which include singing, chanting, playing, moving, creating, with and without the use of props and equipment, and how these aspects can be incorporated into a curriculum for children from birth to age twelve.

ECSP 1017 - Interpersonal Communication Skills
This course introduces the learner to effective interpersonal communication. Effective communication is examined as a process and a skill. Factors that influence effective communication are considered. Ethical decision-making and group dynamics are also explored.

ECSP 1054 - Work Experience I
The Early Childhood Education work experience provides you with opportunities to participate in a variety of non-paid or workplace practicum, supervised and regulated early childhood settings with a variety of age groups. You will gain and expand skills through practical application of early childhood developmental and curriculum theories and demonstrate increasing levels of proficiency.

ECSP 1056 - Work Experience II
You will apply techniques of classroom management and positive child guidance, program planning, interaction strategies, as well professional communication strategies with children, parents and colleagues. You will be encouraged to engage in reflective practice through work experience journal entries and to develop your own professional style and philosophical views of teaching and learning. Participation in practicum is dependent upon you demonstrating the required skills or attainment of knowledge required in a cooperating centre. Emphasis will be placed on your ability to put theory to practice and in demonstrating an understanding of child development.

ECSP 1123 - Infant and Toddler Care
This course concentrates on the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary to care for, develop, and implement appropriate programs and environments for children between the ages of birth and thirty-six months. Curriculum is viewed in a holistic framework with attention to the development of the infant and toddler in the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional domains. The individualistic nature of all children is recognized and supported. The focus of this course is on the specifics of "hands on care" required to nurture the Infant and toddler.

ECSP 1125 - Pre-school Methods
This course is designed to enable the student to develop effective programs, environments and strategies for preschool age children based upon a sound knowledge of child development. An emphasis will be placed on cultural and individual diversity, inclusion and anti-bias approaches to programming.

ECSP 1127 - Issues in School Age Care
This course is designed to assist the learner in developing the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively plan and implement school-age child care programs. Learners will acquire knowledge of issues related to growth and development of the child from six to twelve such as making and keeping friends, self-esteem, and bullying. Learners will explore developmentally appropriate curricula and environments for children age five through twelve. Emphasis is placed upon meeting the needs of a diverse group of children, incorporating an anti-bias and inclusionary approach. The distinct role of the early childhood educator working with school-aged children is differentiated from the role of the elementary school teacher.

ECSP 1200 - Learning Through Play I
This course focuses on the theories, concepts and functions of play in the holistic development of children. You will gain an appreciation for play as the occupation of childhood. You will develop underlying principles and strategies that will guide you in planning and implementing developmentally appropriate learning experiences and environments. You will investigate the role of the early childhood educator, indoor/outdoor play spaces, materials and equipment in planning and supporting children’s diverse learning needs.

ECSP 2051 - Work Experience V
You will continue to hone and demonstrate your skills as you take on increasing responsibility in planning and implementing a variety of developmentally appropriate activities with minimal support. You will be expected to maintain effective communication and relationships with both children and co-workers and to demonstrate a sound knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices.

ECSP 2052 - Work Experience VI
During this final practicum of the ECE program, you will show proficiency in all areas related to the early childhood setting, working independently to guide children’s behaviour, plan and implement activities and maintain the daily routine. You will be expected to demonstrate a sound knowledge of child development, health & safety issues, developmentally appropriate practices and ethical behaviour.

ECSP 2200 - Learning Through Play II
This course examines the importance of connecting theory to practice when providing developmentally appropriate and effective learning environments and experiences for children aged birth to twelve years. Learners will be able to connect the learning goals and strategies from Capable, Confident and Curious: Nova Scotia's Early Learning Curriculum Framework as they plan play experiences. Learners will be exposed to math and science concepts through a variety of media. Learners will utilize a variety of media to plan and implement developmentally appropriate, play-based math and science experiences for children.

GDEV 1028 - Human Growth and Development I
This course examines the growth and developmental of individuals from conception through the various stages of childhood. The emphasis is on applying theories of child development to facilitate an understanding early childhood, specifically the physical, cognitive, language, personality, moral, social and emotional development of children aged birth to twelve.

GDEV 2028 - Human Growth and Development II
The primary purpose of this course is to examine physical, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of development from adolescence through adulthood, including the processes of maturation and aging. Issues related to diversity, special needs, grief and loss are also addressed.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SOCS 1000 - Introduction to Sociology
This survey course focuses on the major sociological concepts and theoretical perspectives.

SOCS 1001 - Introduction to Psychology
This survey course will introduce students to the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. It will explore its goals, theoretical perspectives, research and applications. It will challenge students to make connections between areas of study and their everyday experience.

SOCS 1005 - Writing Skills for Social Service Practice I
Effective written communication skills are a necessary component for success in the social services environment where transparency, accountability and integrity are core values connected to providing service for others. This one semester course is designed to afford the student the opportunity to develop the skills required to manage information and prepare documents used in the social services field.

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