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:

A national reach and collective voice is important
Evidence-based, credible resources that guide best practice and policy development
The importance and need for best practice
Professional identity and professional development
That they are influential change agents--that change for ELCC cannot happen without them
Being a part of the larger whole, solving issues that affect the ELCC sector across Canada
Courage and confidence in the belief that high quality ELCC is a right for children
Pride and self-respect in their practice and professionalism
Feeling valued
Being heard
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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

Professional Development

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.

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Supporter membership rate $45 CAD. Join now!

Annual Membership rate $0 CAD with the code from your local affiliate. Join now!

Anyone working in licensed child care has to apply for certification. You will find certification information for your province or territory on our child care certification page.

With your resume and cover letter ready (we’ll provide guides for this soon), contact child care centres and introduce yourself! You can call, email, or even message them on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Try again a few days later to give them your resume in person. Remember that due to safety reasons you need to call first. Tell them you live in their area, and that you’re looking for a position.

On our provincial and territorial map we link to child care associations in your area. Follow the link to your association and join today. The associations provide valuable information to anyone starting out in their career. Even experienced ECEs can benefit. You’ll also enjoy valuable member benefits like discounts, meet other ECEs, and become a part of the child care movement in Canada.


If you join your provincial or territorial affiliate, you’re automatically also a member of the CCCF.

All licensed and regulated quality child care programs in Canada require these for the safety and security of children and families.

If you’re just starting out:

  1. Get certified!
  2. Find the requirements for your province or territory
  3. Write your resume and begin your job search. We’ll provide tips on this soon. 
  4. Get your vulnerable sector check and first aid training

Join our Facebook Group and meet other ECEs who may be able to answer your questions

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are incredible professionals that have rewarding, important and demanding careers. They work with young children (and their families), ages 0-12, nurturing and educating them, observing and planning for their growth and development while ensuring that they are healthy. They create interactive and dynamic learning environments where children develop social skills, develop cognitive skills and foster lifelong learning. ECEs work in child care centres, classrooms, home child cares, preschool, and parent drop-in programs. You do not need a teaching degree to be an ECE, but you do need your ECE diploma.

Annual Membership rate $90 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!