Early Learning Care

Early Learning & Care (ELC) Program Handbook

Sharing the learning journey with children and families

Policies and expectations unique to the Early Learning Care Program are outlined in the handbook below. Please ensure that you read the HHS Student Handbook for general school information.

Last updated: April 28

Early Learning & Care Program is a part of the School of Health and Human Services, a place of warmth and caring. We're always looking to connect with future and current students so please don't hesitate to email hhsinfo@camosun.ca if you have any questions.

Once enrolled in a program, you're required to familiarize yourself with the information found in your school and program information pages.

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Note: Downloaded versions of the student handbook are valid on the date of download. Critical changes or error corrections may happen at any time. Due to COVID-19, information in the handbook may change. For the most up-to-date information about Camosun’s response to COVID-19 go to www.camosun.ca/covid19.

1. Welcome

1.1 Chair's Message

On behalf of all of us in the Community, Family, and Child Studies Department, welcome!

We are pleased that you have chosen Camosun College and a program or course in our Department as part of your journey. It is our privilege to be part of it. We are all here to help ensure your experience is worthwhile. We, too, have been students, have walked onto a campus for the first time, and have needed help to navigate our way forward. Don't hesitate to connect with us along the way.

All the very best,

Jeanne Puritch
Chair - Community, Family and Child Studies Department

Contact the Community, Family & Child Studies department.


2. Program Values

2.1 Vision

Entering the early childhood community students are welcomed as learners who bring their own strengths and skills with them. Working collaboratively, listening carefully, and thinking deeply they develop an understanding that is respectful, caring and thoughtful. It takes an early childhood community to nurture and support positive growth and develop early childhood graduates who see themselves in a process of learning in a dynamic field that is built upon a foundation of respect for children and families.

2.2 Philosophy

Learners and Instructors

  • Learners and instructors are active participants in the teaching and learning process, sharing knowledge and prior experiences
  • Learning is done through head, heart and hands
  • Learners are supported to reflect on their values and beliefs in conjunction with learning and with practice.
  • Instructors are current, professional and support a co-operative learning environment.
  • Instructors are innovative, respectful and model ethical principles through genuine, trusting and caring relationships.

2.3 Purpose

The Early Learning and Care Diploma program is designed to provide learners with the knowledge, skills and values to create responsive and nurturing early learning experiences.

The ELC program embraces the belief that children and families are competent and capable, and the program reflects this principle in our work with students and the community.

Indigenous perspectives on supporting children and families, and connections to nature, land and place, are woven throughout the learning experience as well as the impact of residential schools, on- going colonization and the skills of reconciliation.

Emphasis is placed on working collaboratively with families, within communities and with other professionals. Students learn how to support and strengthen children's unique and complex identities within their particular contexts.

The program incorporates a sociocultural perspective of early childhood education as identified by current research and contemporary discourses.


3. Program Learning Outcomes

3.1 Performance Indicators

Upon successful completion of the ELC Diploma, students will be able to:

Use critical thinking skills in the ongoing, dynamic creation and reflection of democratic early learning and care practices

  1. Apply and critically reflect upon theory, concepts and practices that support quality programing.
  2. Develop and adapt environments in response to the interests, curiosities and needs of the children.
  3. Use pedagogical narrations to capture significant and multiple perspectives of children, families, and educators.
  4. Describe and model caring and inclusive early learning practices
  5. Apply a community, family, and child focused framework to early learning and care.
  6. Incorporate knowledge of indigenous, inclusive and diverse cultural practices into planning

Support young children's well-being and holistic learning within the context of family, culture, and community.

  1. Use a social justice perspective to inform and enhance professional practice as it relates to children, family and community.
  2. Respect the dignity of parents, children, colleagues and others, and demonstrate anti-bias practices.
  3. Apply diverse, inclusive and strength based approaches that reflect social, cultural and linguistic perspectives to program planning.
  4. Use a variety of narrations and documentation techniques.
  5. Apply theory and concepts related to individual, holistic and complex identity and well-being to work with infants, toddlers, young children and families.
  6. Provide children with rich, play and nature based experiences to support and extend their holistic learning.

Establish, maintain, evaluate and adapt inclusive, nurturing, safe and healthy environments which exceed the requirements of current legislation, regulatory bodies and program policies.

  1. Promote and maintain healthy and safe environments that exceed Licensing Regulatory requirements.
  2. Ensure the well-being and the specific health and nutritional needs of children are met.
  3. Model self-care and demonstrate practices that enhance own and children's health and wellness.
  4. Organize natural environments for play and exploration within indoor and outdoor spaces.
  5. Develop program policies that are strength based and respectful of the diversity of children, families and communities.
  6. Create opportunities for children to experience risk

Use respectful, professional interpersonal and culturally appropriate communication skills in all aspects of work as an early learning and care professional.

  1. Establish and maintain an environment of mutual respect.
  2. Use professional standards for effective oral, written and non-verbal communication.
  3. Engage in inter-professional practices in partnership with families, colleagues and community members.
  4. Use effective interpersonal and culturally sensitive approaches to engage colleagues and family in problem solving and conflict resolution processes.
  5. Critically reflect upon own interpersonal strengths and identify strategies for development of interpersonal competence

Develop meaningful relationships with young children, families, and colleagues as a foundation for early learning and care practice.

  1. Use a variety of respectful and responsive positive guidance strategies.
  2. Facilitate and maintain professional and trusting relationships.
  3. Enrich the well-being of young children and their families through the application of family centred, child focused practices.
  4. Use knowledge of indigenous perspectives to develop relationships with aboriginal children, families and community.
  5. Form collaborative partnerships with families, respecting cultural and social diversity.
  6. Demonstrate basic knowledge of indigenous ways of knowing and being, the impact of residential schools and ongoing colonization and the skills of reconciliation that enable supportive early learning experiences for aboriginal children, families and community.

Use critical thinking skills to reflect upon own values and experiences that contribute to perceptions of an indigenous worldview.

  1. Identify and describe early childhood educator practices that support indigenous ways of knowing, learning and being
  2. Apply and model practices that foster mutually respectful relationships with aboriginal children, families and community
  3. Develop natural learning environments and experiences that incorporate a connection to the land.
  4. Work with indigenous communities and use local cultural and historical knowledge to inform practice
  5. Apply knowledge of residential schools, on-going colonization and the skills of reconciliation to the development of culturally sensitive relationships

Demonstrate professional responsibility and accountability as an early childhood educator by adhering to the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia (ECEBC) Code of Ethics (principles of fairness, equity and diversity).

  1. Assume leadership roles and responsibilities within the early childhood context.
  2. Ensure confidentiality and use an ethical decision making model to respond to issues.
  3. Reflect and respond to issues of personal health and wellness, and maintain an effective work/life balance.
  4. Use critical reflection to evaluate personal and professional practice
  5. Pursue, on an ongoing basis, the knowledge, skills and self-awareness needed for professional competence and currency.
  6. Apply a personal philosophy of early childhood education to your work using a framework of ethical and professional standards
  7. Demonstrate integrity in all professional relationships including those with colleagues, families, and community partners.


4. Practicum Guidelines

4.1 Clinical and Community Placement Protocol


Students are responsible for expenses of travelling to and from practicum placements. A bus pass is included as part of your registration package.


Students are required to attend all practicum sessions in the field and all classroom seminars unless they have a legitimate medical reason. Absences beyond two sessions will be made up at the discretion of the sponsor educator and the college instructor.


5. Info for Graduates

Early Learning & Care graduates:

  • Have the skills to develop trusting relationships with children, families and co-workers that are respectful, reciprocal and collaborative.
  • Have the knowledge and understanding to work in many types of early learning programs.
  • Able to use strength based perspectives and an empathetic approach.
  • Able to be reflective and caring
  • Can bring joy and integrity to their work with children and families.
  • Are advocates and leaders in promoting diverse, inclusive and dynamic communities for children and families.
  • Understand global perspectives of early childhood within a framework of social justice.

Graduates are prepared with a strong academic and skills based foundation for many professional opportunities in the field of early learning and care. They have the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to create responsive, caring environments for all including infants, toddlers, preschool age children and children with diverse abilities.

Graduates are prepared to provide leadership and advocacy within the community of early learning and care.

Students who complete the Camosun College ELC Diploma with a B or higher are eligible to apply to and enter in third year of UVic's Child and Youth Care degree or to third year of Capilano University's Early Childhood Education Degree program.

Employment Opportunities

  • Early Years Centres (provincial hubs)
  • Aboriginal Head Start Programs
  • Group Childcare Centres (Preschools and Day Cares)
  • Family Child Care homes
  • Recreation Centres
  • Family Resource Programs
  • School-Age Care Programs
  • Child Care Resource and Referral Programs
  • Supported Child Development Programs
  • Infant Development Programs
  • Strong-Start Programs
  • Infant-Toddler Centres and Young Parent Programs

5.1 Licensing & Professional Association Information

Students who successfully complete all required courses for the Diploma are eligible for Provincial certification as an Early Childhood Educator with specialization as Infant and Toddler Educators and/or Special Needs Educators. Information on certification with the Provincial Early Childhood Certification and Licensing Information.