New certificate, micro-credential program in early childhood education to launch in January

Courses will benefit new and existing educators, including new Canadians

An early childhood educator with children

Learners in Mount Royal's new Bridge to Early Learning and Child Care Extension Certificate and micro-credential courses will cover a range of best practices and competencies.

‘When one teaches, two learn.’ –Robert Heinlein

Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Continuing Education will be offering a new micro-credential and extension certificate program starting January 2024.

The Bridge to Early Learning and Child Care Extension Certificate (BELCC) program offers an online educational pathway for English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners considering a career working with children and families in Alberta in child care, preschool, school age care, family child care or nanny positions. The BELCC micro-credentials are also ideal for those currently working in the field of early learning and child care who are seeking professional development opportunities.

The program consists of five 15-hour courses, each of which will count as a micro-credential and participants will be eligible for a digital badge upon successful completion. The courses include:

  • Introduction to Early Learning and Care in Alberta
  • Early Childhood Educators and a Practice of Relationships
  • Early Childhood Educators and Responsive Environments
  • Early Childhood Educators Holistic Care for Self and Others
  • The Professional Role of the Early Childhood Educator

The courses will take a holistic, child-focused approach to educating young children; learners will develop their skills in verbal communication with children and adults, observation, listening and documentation, program planning and learning environments, building relationships and professional practice. The new BELCC courses will each run for five weeks, with the first course beginning in January 2024. Students can choose to take individual courses in the program, or complete all five micro-credential courses and receive a Bridge to Early Learning and Child Care Extension Certificate.

“International EAL learners considering an early learning certificate, diploma or degree would benefit from completing the micro-credential courses. While the courses don’t transfer to post-secondary programs, the content provides a valuable introduction to early learning and child care in Alberta for those who are interested in the early childhood educator role,” says Dr. Susan Garrow-Oliver, course developer and instructor.

“What makes these courses different is that they’re offered online and have a focus on English as an Additional language learners. Each course incorporates English language and cultural competencies as a bridge within the early childhood educator core topic areas.”

MRU’s Continuing Education has a solid history of early childhood programming, with existing programs like the Education Assistant and Children’s Mental Health Extension Certificates providing excellent learning and career-building opportunities for learners throughout the community.

Those who enroll in the BELCC courses can expect the same high quality content that is current and relevant to early learning and child care practices in Alberta. 

Some of the current best practices in early childhood education that are addressed by this program include being a trauma-aware educator, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and other diverse cultural ways of knowing, a Child Rights approach to practice, holistic well-being, and research and evidence-based early childhood education practice.

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