Campus News

 A woman works with young children in a daycare centre settingLethbridge College is launching a new flexible option for early childhood educators who want to continue their education while continuing their work.

The new Early Childhood Education (ECE) internship certificate program will start in January 2023 and has been designed for students who are already working as early childhood educators. Applications are being accepted now.

“This flexible new option offers both a virtual, synchronous or in-person cohort group, classes scheduled after the end of the workday, and the ability to put the theory learned on our campus into practice immediately in their classrooms,” says Trudi Mason, Dean of the Centre for Justice and Human Services. “There’s even additional government funding students can apply for to help them further their education.”

In many ways, the program is similar to the apprentice model of learning that happens at the college for students in the trades. Students choosing this option must be currently employed, and once accepted, they can continue with their regular work at daycares and childcare centres during the day and join a cohort for ECE classes at the end of the workday. Students’ time on the job will count towards their work-integrated learning requirements as well.

 A woman works with young children in a daycare centre settingAfter completing the program in three terms (with flexibility to extend that time), students will be certified as Level II early childhood educators and eligible for a wage increase. Students then have the option of completing another year of studies in the college’s ECE diploma program, after which they can be certified as Level III early childhood educators, and again see a wage increase.

Both the curriculum and the tuition for this program are the same for the college’s established, two-semester Early Childhood Education certificate. However, employed early childhood educators have access to additional government funding to be part of this program, and they will move through the program together at different times with other early childhood educators.

“This is a great option for students who want to increase their knowledge and increase their wages,” adds Mason. “Students in this new option don’t have to quit a job to continue their studies, and they get the benefit of applying their learning in their own workplaces immediately. We’re excited to offer this innovative, flexible new option for one of our long-established and well-respected programs.”

To learn more about this new option, contact the School of Human Services Chair, Cheryl Hatten, at