Services for People Wishing to Become an Early Childhood Educator in Saskatchewan
Introduction: The Importance of Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education ensures that individuals who work with young children in child care centres and as family child care home providers are equipped with the skills and abilities to care for and educate young children. The early years of life are recognized as a crucial period, when brain development is rapid and the foundation for cognitive, socio-emotional, and language growth is established. Early Childhood Education enables individuals to support children's development through knowledge of child development, programming, relationships, and related areas. The knowledge and practical skills acquired through formal Early Childhood Education prepares early learning and child care professionals to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children in licensed child care facilities.
Early Childhood Educator Certification
Early Childhood Educator Exemption
Understanding Ministry of Education Early Childhood Educator Certification
The Child Care Regulations, 2001, describe the set of standards child care facilities must meet in order to be licensed. Ministry of Education Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certification is a licensing requirement.
All individuals directly involved in the care and supervision of children for 65 hours per month or more in a licensed child care centre are required to be certified as an early childhood educator by Educator Services of the Ministry of Education.
Ministry of Education ECE Certification is different from a certificate or diploma issued by an approved, accredited post-secondary institution. Individuals must apply directly to the Ministry of Education for ECE Certification.
Individuals are eligible to apply for ECE certification if they have completed coursework that has led to an ECE orientation, certificate, or diploma, or have completed an equivalent combination of education, from an approved, accredited post-secondary institution.
Once an ECE credential has been determined by the Ministry of Education through an assessment process, an ECE Certificate of Qualification indicating the certification level is issued.
ECE Certification Levels
There are three categories of Ministry of Education ECE Certification granted, depending on the number of relevant post-secondary ECE courses completed:
A minimum of an ECE Level I is required in order to work more than 65 hours per month in a child care centre. An ECE Level III is required for directors of child care centres.
Responsibilities of Child Care Centre Boards
Child care centre boards must ensure that all eligible individuals who work more than 65 hours per month have applied to the Ministry of Education for ECE Certification. This is required in order for the facility to meet licensing requirements specified in The Child Care Regulations, 2001.
In addition, boards are required to meet Section 41 of The Child Care Regulations, 2001, which requires that a minimum of 20% of all child care workers hold an ECE Level III, 30% of all child care workers hold an ECE Level II, and the remainder of child care workers employed over 65 hours a month hold an ECE Level I.
For example: In a centre with 10 staff working 65 hours or more per month, two staff are required to have an ECE Level III, three staff are required to have at least an ECE Level II, and the remaining staff are required to hold at least an ECE Level I.
Note: Individuals employed less than 65 hours per month are not required to obtain an ECE certification. However, all child care centre employees should be encouraged to complete coursework to achieve an ECE certification.
Responsibilities of Family Child Care Home Providers
Family child care home providers who operate a family child care home are required to complete an introductory course from the Child Development, Programming, or Relationships area within the first year of becoming licensed.
Group family child care home providers are required to complete an ECE orientation, or equivalent, within the first three years of becoming licensed.
How ECE Certification Applications are Assessed by the Ministry of Education
Applications are assessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete applications including application form, official transcripts, and/or World Education Services (WES) course-by-course evaluations (ICAP Reports) are assessed within approximately four weeks after being received by Educator Services.
The Ministry of Education assesses ECE coursework by examining course transcripts and/or WES course-by-course evaluations (ICAP Reports). Coursework completed through approved, accredited post-secondary institutions is considered for ECE certification. Workshops, seminars, internships, practica, and work experience are not considered as coursework for ECE certification.
Ministry of Education ECE Certification is granted by completing coursework attained through a formal ECE orientation, certificate, or diploma from an approved, accredited post-secondary institution. If an ECE orientation, certificate or diploma has not been obtained, ECE certification is assessed through the completion of equivalent post-secondary courses. A minimum number of credit units is required for each certification level.
The following table illustrates the number of credit units* required for each level of certification.
*The Ministry of Education considers three credit units to be equivalent to one full-semester post-secondary course.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure coursework completed meets credit unit and subject area requirements for ECE certification. Courses considered for ECE certification are from four subject areas. Course descriptions from post-secondary institution calendars and course outlines are used to assess the suitability of a course for a subject area.
Once courses have been assessed for ECE certification, all subsequent courses taken to increase an ECE level must be related to early childhood education.
The following table provides some examples of courses approved in the subject areas.
How to Apply for ECE Certification
Understanding Ministry of Education Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Exemption
When a Child Care Centre Board can not find an individual who meets the educational requirements to be employed in a child care centre, the Board may submit an "Application for Early Childhood Educator Exemption' for the individual.
If the individual does not meet the requirements of an ECE Level I, the exemption allows an individual to work more than 65 hours per month in a child care centre while working towards an ECE Level I certification.
An "Application for ECE Exemption" may also be submitted for early childhood educators who have attained a certification level and are working towards their next level of certification. This way, the proportion of ECE Level II and ECE Level III certified employees in a child care centre can be managed in accordance with Section 41 of The Child Care Regulations, 2001.
Child care centre directors must be certified as an ECE Level III. Child care centre boards must submit the "Application for ECE Exemption' on behalf of a director who is not certified as an ECE Level III. Child care centre boards must reapply for the centre director exemption until the educational requirements for an ECE Level III certification are met.
Individuals granted exemptions are expected to attain a certification level in a reasonable frame of time. A minimum of 6 credit units of ECE coursework must be completed annually. An "Education Plan' identifying start and completion dates of the courses the applicant is currently registered for and will be taking within the next 12 months must accompany an "Application for ECE Exemption'. An applicant must complete courses continually until the required certification level is achieved.
Responsibilities of Child Care Centre Boards
The Child Care Centre Board acknowledges they meet the requirements of Section 40 and 41 of The Child Care Regulations, 2001 with an active and valid exemption for the individual until such time as the individual achieves the required level of early childhood education. The validity of an exemption is contingent on the individual acting in accordance with the "Education Plan' submitted with the exemption application.
It is the child care centre board's obligation to ensure the individual meets the requirements of the certification level by the expiry date of the exemption. Once the individual has met the requirements, he or she may apply for certification as an Early Childhood Educator. If the individual has not met the requirements by the expiry date of the exemption or has made changes to their Education Plan before their exemption expires, a new "Application for ECE Exemption' must be submitted to Educator Services.
How ECE Exemptions Are Assessed by the Ministry of Education
ECE exemption applications are assessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete applications are assessed within approximately four weeks after being received by Educator Services. After the application has been assessed, a letter advising of the outcome is sent to the applicant and to the child care centre for distribution to the board.
The Ministry of Education reviews the "Education Plan' by evaluating the number of course(s) the applicant is currently registered for and will be taking, start and completion dates of the course(s), and the accreditation of the institution. Enrolment start and end dates for a minimum of 6 credit units of ECE coursework must be identified on the "Education Plan'. Only ECE courses from approved, accredited post-secondary institutions will be recognized.
Exemptions are valid only until the expiry date indicated in the letter, and for that particular centre in which the individual is employed. If the individual finds employment in a different child care centre or makes changes to the "Education Plan' a new "Application for ECE Exemption' must be submitted to Educator Services.
Reapplication for ECE exemption must be submitted prior to the expiration date indicated on the letter and one month prior to the start date of the course or courses listed on the "Education Plan'.
How to Apply for an ECE Exemption
1) On Behalf of an Early Childhood Educator: