Early Learning & Child Care Certificate

Our Early Learning and Childcare Program is delivered in two separate formats. Our online format is available to domestic students, with open enrollment allowing for monthly intakes for students interested in starting the program each month.  We will also be offering a face-to-face cohort available to both domestic and international students beginning in September 2024 at our Cold Lake campus, and in January 2025 for our Lac La Biche campus. 

This program provides you with the credentials to work in institutions or children's programs at the childhood level from birth to age twelve. The program focuses on key areas of childhood growth and development, diverse abilities, program strategies, building and sustaining strong rapport between children and their families, professionalism in the workplace as well as incorporating practical learning experiences. 

One essential aspect of our online program is that students receive live instruction with instructor-led classes. There is a new course each month and open enrollment so that you can start at any time. The Online Program is delivered two nights a week from 6:30 - 9:00 P.M. (Monday and Tuesday).  For the condensed version that is open to international students, Classes are offered from 5:00 - 9:00 P.M.(From Monday to Thursday each week) 

Practicums may be arranged at a licensed childcare setting of your choice.

This program has high enrollment, and response times can take up to a week.



Career Potential
Graduates of the Early Learning and Child Care Certificate Program qualify for Level 2 Early Childhood Educator Certification through Child Care Staff Certification, Government of Alberta, Children and Youth Services.

Students who obtain 45 hours in an Early Childhood course can apply for Level 1 Early Childhood Educator Certification from the Government of Alberta, Children and Youth Services.


Admission Requirements

  • High School Transcripts, including English Language Arts 30-1 at 55% or English Language Arts  30-2 at 60%
  • Students who do not meet admission requirements can contact student services regarding opportunities for placement testing. * Students must submit an application to the program to start the process.


  • Criminal Record Check, Child Youth Information System Document (formally CWIS) Alberta Child and Youth Services
  • Please refer to the following link for minimum technical requirements on our Moodle page.

Use this chart to check Provincial high school equivalencies accepted at Portage College. Note: This is just a guide.

Transferable to the 2nd year Portage College Early Learning and Child Care Diploma Program. Some courses are transferable to the Portage College Educational Assistant Program. Transferability to other provincial colleges is available. 30 credit block transfer to the Athabasca University BPA program.

Additional info

  • Levels 1, 2, and 3 can not be used for admission into the program.
  • Portage College Early Learning programs do not accept Private Post-Secondary transcripts for transferability into this program.

Program Start

Application is on a continuous basis. Registration is monthly; you can enroll at any point in the academic year if you have the program prerequisites. You must apply, pay the application fee and meet the entrance requirements by the application deadline for the course you are applying to start on. The start dates and the application/entrance requirement deadlines for each course are as follows. 

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION - Start Date: August 19, 2024. Application Deadline: July 5, 2024

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT - Start Date: September 16, 2024. Application Deadline: August 2, 2024

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY - Start Date: October 21, 2024. Application Deadline: September 7, 2024

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ELCC - Start Date: November 18, 2024. Application Deadline: October 4, 2024 

INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE - Start Date: January 6, 2025. Application Deadline: November 22, 2024

INFANTS AND TODDLERS - Start Date: February 3, 2025. Application Deadline: November 22, 2024

OBSERVING AND RECORDING SKILLS - Start Date: March 10, 2025. Application Deadline: January 27, 2025

DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES - Start Date: April 7, 2025. Application Deadline: February 21, 2025

GUIDING BEHAVIOUR - Start Date: May 5, 2025. Application Deadline: March 22, 2025

SCHOOL AGED CARE - Start Date: June 2, 2025, Application Deadline: April 18, 2025

Online Delivery

Program Start/End Dates:

Cold Lake Cohort: September 3, 2024, to June 12, 2025

Written Communication - September 3 to September 13, 2024

Human Development - September 16 to September 27, 2024 

Learning Through Play - September 30 to October 11, 2024

Roles and Responsibilities for ELCC - October 21 to November 1, 2024

Practicum 1 - November 4 to December 20, 2024

Interpersonal Competence - January 6 to January 21, 2025

Infants and Toddlers - January 20 to January 31, 2025

Observing and Recording Skills - February 3 to February 14, 2025

Development Disabilities - February 24 to March 7, 2025

Guiding Behaviour - March 10 to March 21, 2025

School Age Care - March 24 to April 4, 2025

Practicum 2 - Aril 7 to June 12, 2025

Lac La Biche Cohort: January 6, 2025, to December 12, 2025

Written Communication - January 6 to January 17, 2025

Human Development - January 20 to January 31, 2025

Learning Through Play - February 3 to February 14, 2025

Roles and Responsibilities for ELCC - February 24 to March 7, 2025

Interpersonal Competence - March 10 to March 21, 2025

Infants and Toddlers - March 24 to April 4, 2025

Observing and Recording Skills - April 7 to May 9, 2025

Practicum 1 - May 12 to June 14, 2025

Developmental Disabilities - September 2 to September 12, 2025

Guiding Behaviour - September 15 to September 26, 2025

School Age Care - September 29 to October 10, 2025

Practicum 2 - October 20 to December 12, 2025

Application Deadline:

Cold Lake Cohort:

Lac La Biche Cohort:


Cold Lake and Lac La Biche campus

Domestic Student Fees
Application Fee $53.50

2024-2025 yearly tuition and mandatory fees, if you complete all the credits required in the academic year, is:

Tuition $4,830.84
Student Association $302.35
Dental Insurance Fee $158.50
Health Insurance Fee $158.50
Technology Fee $248.13
Recreation Fee $132.68
Total $5,831.00

Tuition is calculated using “cost-per-credit” one credit is $134.19. Calculate the cost by multiplying the number of credits per course by $134.19. Other mandatory fees are listed below by semester.

Other mandatory fees Fall semester

Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Total $253.98

Other mandatory fees Winter semester

Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $54.57
Total $253.98

Other mandatory fees Spring semester

Student Association $68.95
Technology Fee $82.71
Recreation Fee $23.54
Total $175.20

Visit  Portage Bookstore for textbooks and supplies

Tuition Deposit: $100 (non-refundable for oversubscribed programs)                       

Need help funding your education? Check out our  funding options.

You may opt-out of the Dental and Health Insurance plan if you provide proof of comparable coverage for an extended health and/or dental care benefits plan.

Any questions regarding SA Fees including the Health and Dental Insurance fees should be directed to the SA Office 780-623-5609.

Internation Student Fees

Application Fee $160.00

Tuition Deposit $5000.00(non-refundable)

Tuition Costs:  TBA

Other purchases may be necessary in order for students to complete their courses/program.

students will need regular access to a computer with a webcam and an internet connection. High speed broadband access is highly recommended for the optimal learning experience.

For technical requirements, visit our Moodle page.

Early Learning and Child Care Certificate


    Course ID: ECDE100


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    In this course, the learner will explore the major theories of human development and will focus specifically on birth to age twelve. Areas of study will include physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.

    Fall Term


    Course ID: ENGL100


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    English 100 emphasizes fundamental English writing skills: grammar, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and additional mechanics. The course provides instruction in conducting research, documenting sources of information, avoiding any suspicion of plagiarism, and creating a basic outline to structure and organize ideas in a five-paragraph essay. Students will submit all tests and assignments to Moodle for evaluation.

    Fall Term


    Course ID: ELCC114


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    Identify how the goals, philosophy, and curriculum of play-based learning experiences support children’s developmental growth. Learnings will understand the importance of their role in the development of an environment that is child-centered, culturally, and developmentally appropriate.

    Fall Term 


    Course ID: ELCC103


    Hours: 140

    Credits: 2

    This field practicum consists of full-time supervised placements with appropriately qualified staff for four weeks. Students are placed in daycares, kindergartens, Head Start programs, preschool programs, and other school classrooms. During the practicum, time is designated for integration seminar activity. Students are expected to integrate course theory in and with field placement experiences.

    Fall Term


    Course ID: ELCC122


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    This course provides students with the knowledge required to work professionally and effectively in ELCC environments. Students become knowledgeable about professional ethics, program operational matters, codes of conduct, job descriptions, and role clarifications. Policies on early childhood from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Alberta Child and Youth Services are also covered. Fall Term


    Course ID: RSER103


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    Interpersonal Communications skills are such a vital part of human services. This course provides learners with an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the basic communication concepts and skills, to examine their everyday communication behaviors, and apply their new knowledge and self-awareness to their own experience. The main goal of this experience is to help learners expand their repertoire of skills for communicating more effectively.

    Winter Term


    Course ID: ELCC107


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    ELCC 107 will prepare the student to develop the skills necessary to provide infants and toddlers (age 0-36 months) with the highest quality care and programming possible in home-based and group environments. Knowledge of appropriate techniques and developmentally appropriate learning activities are based on current child development research and the standardized child development goals and objectives.

    Winter Term 


    Course ID: ELCC132


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    This course will focus on basic observation and recording skills used for observing children. Subsequent intervention strategies to work with children following the observation will be explored.

    Winter Term 


    Course ID: RSER101


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    This is an introductory course to disability studies and provides students with an opportunity to explore the lives of persons with disabilities including families, special needs, diverse characteristics, and lifestyles.

    Spring Term 


    Course ID: ELCC133


    Hours: 280

    Credits: 4

    Practicum provides students with the opportunity to apply and enhance their skills and knowledge in relation to working with children in a variety of childcare and school settings.

    Spring Term


    Course ID: ECDE111


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    Learners will gain an understanding of the skills required for effective intervention techniques designed to positively and appropriately guide the socio-cultural appropriate behavior of preschool and school-age children, thereby, nurturing a safe and healthy environment for children and staff.

    Spring Term 


    Course ID: ELCC130


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    This course provides the student with knowledge related to program development and implementation. Content covers, safety supervision, behavior management, developmentally and culturally appropriate programming, and the overall role of an effective worker in an out-of-school environment with school-age children.

    Spring Term 

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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