April 6, 2009: Capilano University to offer new and unique Early Childhood Care and Education degree program

      Monday, April 6, 2009
      Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Students and families throughout British Columbia will benefit from the province’s first degree in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), offered at Capilano University in September 2009.

      The current economic downturn has meant that many people have had to return to work and place their young children, toddlers and infants in the care of qualified professionals. This has increased the need for more licensed early childhood educators, especially in infant/toddler centres.

      “We’ve seen a decrease of jobs across the board at our student employment centre, except in jobs with child care centres, families and community-based agencies,” said Capilano’s student employment coach, Shoshana Somerville. “For us, that was an indicator that partners and spouses were going back to work, increasing the need for more child care workers. We saw this as an opportunity to strategically improve our educational programming in this area.”

      The unique ECCE bachelor degree program will focus on building leadership skills from global and post-modern perspectives. It will replace Capilano University’s long-established ECCE certificates and diploma programs, many of which have been offered at the university for more than 40 years. However, the program’s flexibility means that students will still have the opportunity to exit with a basic, infant/toddler, or special needs certificate, or an ECCE diploma, enter the workforce, then return to complete their degree at another time.

      “This program really is focused on the type of learning requirements needed today by current graduates preparing to enter the workforce,” said Dr. Jackie Snodgrass, Capilano’s vice president of education, academic and arts programs. “Our new degree program will prepare them to take on leadership positions in the early childhood care industry, and will also address the urgent need for qualified early childhood educators in British Columbia.”

      Degree grads will find employment opportunities in many diverse settings, including as a director of a child care centre, or community-based agency that offers various types of educational/community services for children and their families; in community or academic research; supervising staff and managing organizations and community teams to foster local and national directions; and guiding and sustaining organizations that influence policy for young children and families.

      Students with a certificate are eligible to be licensed by the provincial government to be early childhood educators. Graduates from Capilano’s certificates and diploma programs have found rewarding careers working in licensed preschool and daycare centres, in some school districts as special education assistants, as community care licensing officers, in management positions in child care organizations, and as consultants.

      “We want to thank the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development for approving this unique degree program that will ultimately pave the way for greater educational opportunities for students in B.C.,” Snodgrass added. “It will be of enormous benefit at this time of a critical shortage of skilled workers in the child care industry.”

      Capilano’s ECCE program enjoys an active partnership with the University’s child care centre. It provides students and faculty with the opportunities to examine and develop the skills of leadership. This partnership also provides rich educational experiences for the students, resourceful inquiry-based curriculum for the children, current and challenging professional development for the child care teachers, and extensive learning opportunities for local and regional ECCE communities.

      For more information, visit Capilano University’s ECCE website at www.capilanou.ca/programs/ecce, call 604.984.4960, or e-mail at ecce@capilanou.ca