Your Journey In
Early childhood education
Welcome to our early childhood education journey page. We designed this page to help you, and Canadian ECEs like you. If you’re new to our site, our focus is primarily on Canada. That being said, you’ll discover useful professional development information on quality child care that can apply to ECEs all over the world.
We look forward to being a part of your journey in early childhood education.
Jump to your stage in the journey, and click the links inside for answers to common questions. You can also follow the path below to explore our early childhood education milestones:
More early childhood education Career Milestones Below
The Canadian Child Care Federation and its affiliates are leaders in early learning and child care, we provide expert advice, professional development and services for best practice in the delivery of high quality services that make a positive difference in the lives of children served.
Our members believe that and support:
Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC)--A Career, Education, Personal Traits and Work Tasks
Many people have a calling to work in ELCC, but it takes a special kind of person to work with children. When you work with children you are responsible for their development, the delivery and evaluation of the care and education for children ages 0-12 years in a variety of age groupings, including infant and toddler care, preschool-aged care, school-aged care and inclusive care. You may work in a variety of settings, including publicly-funded child care settings, privately-operated child care settings, home-based child care settings and family resource programs.
The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical in their development and working with them requires knowledge of their cognitive, behavioral, social and physical developmental milestones–in addition to the importance of their day-to-day care and needs, centred around the human traits of patience, kindness, compassion, empathy and warmth.
Children in their school age years , while gaining more independence, still require the same knowledge and traits that people working with very young children have
Education, Classification and Certification
Educational requirements, classifications and levels of certification (ie: what is required to work with children in a child care program) varies across Canada. Generally, a diploma or degree in early childhood education is the basis to be called an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in Canada. However, in all provinces and territories in Canada, a grade 12 diploma or equivalent is required as the minimum educational requirement to work in a child care program. Many provinces and territories do require that people who have no formal education in early childhood to complete some form of upgrading or base level of education focused on early childhood development, literacy, working with families, communication, behaviour guidance and more.
In all provinces and territories, anyone working with children must complete background and security checks with the applicable agencies as required by regulations/legislation and complete specific CPR and first-aid training.
To find out more about the educational requirements in your province or territory, explore our provincial and territorial map on our child care certification page.
To find out more about post-secondary early childhood education programs and opportunities in Canada, please visit our ECE courses and programs page
A hallmark of quality early childhood education and professional practice is ongoing professional development–staying up-to-date on current research and practices. Several provinces and territories require people working in child care programs to complete and report on their required number of hours of professional development every year. The CCCF and its affiliates offer a wide array of trusted, accessible and affordable professional development opportunities including conferences, online learning and in-person learning. Please visit our ECE professional development page to find out more.
What Would I Do as an ECE?
ECE careers/jobs are important, complex, rewarding and demanding. Find out more about what an ECE does on a daily basis by reading the Occupational Standards for Early Childhood Educators.
To learn more about a career as an Administrator (Executive Director, Director, Manager, etc) in a child care program, read the Occupational Standards for Administrators.