Burnaby high school students interested in careers in early childhood education may soon be able to get a head start with a pair of new courses approved by the school board this week.
Early Childhood Education Assistant 1 and 2 are designed for Grade 12 students and will give them a chance to learn about early childhood education in a way previously only available at the post-secondary level, according to a report presented at a school board meeting Tuesday.
The courses will provide students with the knowledge and skills to be “successful caregivers in a professional and personal setting” and help them qualify for an ECE assistant certificate.
“Moreover, it offers transferability to a full ECE program with either Burnaby Community and Continuing Education or, potentially, other ECE post-secondary programs after high school,” states the report. “This allows successful students immediate and easier avenues of choice; it can contribute directly to employment in childcare and/or easier transition into other ECE programs and further post-secondary training.”
ECEA 1 focuses on child development, the tenets of good practice, and the role and responsibilities of the educator in the safety and wellness of the child, while ECEA 2 focuses on human development from conception through childhood, with an emphasis on the young child.
Together, the two four-credit, 120-hour courses are designed to teach the “theoretical underpinnings of early childhood education, as well as the practical application of hands-on learning in a childcare setting.”
The new courses are so-called Board/Authority Authorized courses.
Such courses are developed by teachers (in this case by Burnaby North Secondary teacher Elizabeth Byrne, Lochdale Elementary community school coordinator Teresa Toth and Burnaby Community and Continuing Education ECE program coordinator Marketa Soldat) who want to explore content beyond the boundaries of the provincial curriculum, respond to local needs or provide choice and flexibility for students.
BAA courses have to be approved by the school board prior to the school year in which they are offered, and they only go ahead if enough students register.