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Explore early childhood education at North Island College

North Island College is using video tours to give prospective students a look at programs like early childhood education. - Photo contributed
North Island College is using video tours to give prospective students a look at programs like early childhood education.
— image credit: Photo contributed

Tour NIC with our new Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) video, the first in a series of videos that let you discover new career paths, meet students, and tour facilities like never before.

The Early Childhood Care & Education video takes you inside NIC’s Puntledge Hall as NIC students work with pre-school children to create games and provide healthy snacks.

ECCE students practice parachute games as one of the many educational activities they learn for pre-school aged children.

ECCE students practice parachute games as one of the many educational activities they learn for pre-school aged children.

ECCE student Keosha Girrard designed a math fishing game for an in-class assignment. She’s playing the game with Azelia, a regular visitor from the nearby Beaufort Children’s Centre.

ECCE student Keosha Girrard designed a math fishing game for an in-class assignment. She’s playing the game with Azelia, a regular visitor from the nearby Beaufort Children’s Centre.

“Working with children is one of the most rewarding careers that you can have. Just being with them while they’re making discoveries and learning is really exciting,” said ECCE student Lindsay Mallette. “I’ve been thinking about entering the program for a long time. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”

You’ll also meet children and employers from the Beaufort Children’s Centre, an independent child care provider on NIC’s Comox Valley campus. NIC students regularly invite children to their own classroom for unique learning opportunities, and complete work experience there throughout the year.

“NIC students have the opportunity to work in either of the 3 to 5 year old age groups,” said Ocean Kneeland, Beaufort’s administrator. “Many of those students become substitutes, or eventually staff, at the centre.”

NIC’s certificate program trains a total of 40 new early childhood educators in the Comox Valley and Port Alberni to fill demand every year. In 2009, the British Columbia Wage and Salary Survey estimated 44 per cent of ECCE employers in the Vancouver Island/Coastal region had unfilled vacancies.

“All of our graduates who want to be working will be working in June,” said instructor Vlasta Grant. “There is a real shortage of child care workers in the Comox Valley.”

The certificate program is available part-time or full-time over 10 months in the Comox Valley and Port Alberni. Students gain applied knowledge and confidence, starting with fundamental child development, health and safety, and professional practice skills. Each term, they explore different work environments in practicum placements. By the third term, students work with a mentor four days a week.

Many more students choose to upgrade their skills with individual courses designed to fit into busy family and workplace commitments. This fall, ECC 116, an advanced course on guiding children with behavioral problems, is available evenings in Campbell River.

Students entering the field should consider ECC 114, an introductory course on early child care partnerships which allows them to start working as a child care assistant within four months.

Check with a student advisor for course availability in your area.

Certificate graduates can choose to begin working or specialize their skills for care of younger children or those with special needs in NIC’s part-time diploma. Classes start this September in Port Alberni and are also available in Campbell River, the Comox Valley, and Port Hardy.

For more information on NIC’s Early Childhood Care & Education programs, visit www.nic.bc.ca/communitycare, arrange to talk to a student advisor at 1-800-715-0914, or email questions@nic.bc.ca.

Additional NIC videos will be launched throughout the summer and are available on NIC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/NorthIslandCollege.

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