Native Education

Indigenous Early Childhood Education Certificate

In this 11-months certificate program, students prepare for a rewarding career in early childhood education field. Students will gain foundational knowledge about the field of early childhood education (ECE) in a program that is infused and centres Indigenous Knowledges and ways of being. Students will acquire the necessary skills and competencies for successful and multidirectional career paths in ECE. Course content includes Indigenous approaches to childrearing; thinking with the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF) and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework (IELLC) into practice; and how to support and promote Indigenous children’s identity development and connections with their Nation’s cultural practices and traditions.


  • January 2025
  • September 2024

This program is Full-time, Monday to Friday, 11months long.
Classes are in-person in Vancouver  B.C.

Admission Requirements

High School Applicants
Mature Applicants
Tuition and Fees
  • B.C. secondary school (Grade 12) or equivalent (B.C. Adult Dogwood Graduation Diploma or General Education Diploma).
  • Letter of Intent 
  • Two Reference Letters
  • Criminal Records Check
  • TB test Negative
  • Doctor’s note of good health and mental and physical  fitness to work with young children
  • 18 years old or older
  • Written assessment with 60% or higher
  • Two Reference Letters
  • Criminal Records Check
  • TB test Negative
  • Doctor’s note of good health and mental and physical  fitness to work with young children

If you do not have your High school transcript, and CAAT assessment documents, you can do  the exams at NEC 

Program Tuition: $6,820.00 
Registration: $75.00 
Graduation: $30.00 
Student Association: $30.00 
Student Record and Student Card Fee: $15.00 
Transportation – Upass $506.00 
ECE Lab Fee $200.00 
Food Safe $110.00 
First Aid $110.00 
*Books & Supplies (w/tax) $1,267.35
*Laptop (w/tax - optional) $1,050.00 
TOTAL: $9,163.35
TOTAL:(with laptop & backpack) $10,213.35 

Career Path

Once students complete one of three courses (either ECE 101, ECE 111 or ECE 113), applications for Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) certification can be submitted to the ECE Registry. This license allows students to work as an Assistant to a licensed Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in a daycare or preschool with 3-5-year-olds.

Once students complete all the required courses and graduate from the IECE Certificate program, complete 500 hours of working experience, applications for Early Childhood Educator (ECE) certification can be submitted to the ECE Registry. This license allows students to work independently in a daycare or preschool with 3-5-year-olds.

Students can choose to pursue further certification with NEC’s IECE Diploma program, where they gain their Infant-Toddler Education (ITE) and/or Special Needs Educator (SNE) certification.

Students who complete the IECE Certificate program can transfer into the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP). Students transfer into the second year of their Bachelor of Education degree.

Students from other institutions and ECE certification programs are welcome to transfer to NEC to complete their coursework, including practicum.

Get the hands-on training you need to make a difference in the lives of children

Get tuition-free

Indigenous people, Canadian citizens and permanent resident can apply to scholarships available 

Eligibility to apply for licensure from the Ministry of Education and Child Care

Gain skills to work in the field

High-opportunity occupations with higher demand and pay in a rewarding career positively change the lives of children.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Indigenous Early Childhood Educator Certificate, learners will be proficient in the following areas:

Connect Indigenous children to cultural practices, traditions, and knowledges related to their Nations and Peoples

Create engaging lesson plans and activities that connect with inquiry-based and play-based practices

Communicate effectively and professionally, building relationships with children and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, mentors, and staff

Think critically about the ongoing history of settler-colonialism in ECE, and learn how to decolonize the practice of caring for and working with children

Respond to, develop, and design emergent curriculum based on children’s interests and aligned with the BC Early Learning Framework and Early Learning and Child Care Framework (IELLC)

Become skilled at creating and sparking dialogue around pedagogical narrations as a documentation practice · Support children’s language and literacy development, particularly Indigenous languages, and vocabulary

Course Descriptions

IECE Course List


ECE 101 Child Growth & Development 1 (3 credits)

ECE 102 ECE Theoretical Foundations (3 credits)

ECE 103 Children’s Art and Artistic Inquiry (3 credits)

ECE 111 Guiding & Caring (3 credits)

ECE 112 Child Growth & Development 2 (3 credits)

ECE 113 Health, Safety & Nutrition (3 credits)

ECE 120 Pedagogical Narration/BC ELF (3 credits)

ECE 121 Interpersonal Communication Skills in ECE (3 credits)

ECE 122 Curriculum 1 (3 credits)

ECE 123 Language & Literacy (3 credits)

ECE 124 Curriculum 2 (3 credits)

ECE 128 Advocacy (3 credits)

ECE116 Practicum 1 & Seminar (4 credits)

ECE 126 Practicum 2 & Seminar (4 credits)

Locations of the program


All classes are offered at the NEC campus. Classes are scheduled from 9am-4pm, with a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break and a 1-hour lunch break every day.

Students are responsible for commuting to practicum placement locations, but student preference for practicum locations will be considered. Practicums within Indigenous communities is encouraged. Ideally, students spend the same amount of hours per day at practicum as they would in regular class.

Anastasia Nahanee

“I am from the Squamish Nation, and my two children encourage me to return to school so that I can be an inspiration for them. Before NEC, I felt like I didn’t qualify for some jobs since I didn’t receive the proper education. At NEC I found resources that helped me, and counselling was a significant support for me. I feel grateful to have completed my Certificate and am looking forward to obtain my Diploma in Indigenous Childhood Education this year

IECE - Student 2023