The Nova Scotia Excellence in Early Childhood Education Workforce Strategy, will result in higher wages for early childhood educators as well as benefits and further professionalization of the sector.

Read the full Excellence in Early Childhood Education workforce strategy. English Français

We are committed to supporting the childcare sector with higher wages through the Canada-Wide Agreement.

Learn more here.

Opportunities for ECEs working in the sector to upskill

Accelerated ECE diploma (with PLAR)

For ECEs currently working in licensed child care or Pre-primary to earn a diploma in a shortened timeframe.

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD.
  • Work while studying; courses are online and happen outside of work hours.
  • Practicums completed at workplace – no need to take time off to complete practicum.
  • Post-secondary institutions assess your current knowledge and skills and give credit for your competencies. This rigorous process is called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and allows ECEs to take fewer courses to obtain a diploma.

In 2021–2022, EECD provided funding to over 300 child care staff to participate in this program, including designated seats for Mi’kmaq and Indigenous peoples, Black and African Nova Scotians, Acadian and Francophone Nova Scotians, and newcomers.

 

Learn more     NSCC - May 2024

Advanced Practitioner Pilot Program
Status: To be announced

What is the Advanced Practitioner Pilot (APP) Program?

  • The APP program is currently being piloted (tested) by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College.
  • The program provides experienced ECEs the opportunity to enhance their skills in four specialty areas: Infant and Toddler Early Learning and Care, Preschool Age Learning and Care, Outdoor Play, and Pedagogical Leadership. 

Why is the program being piloted and will this impact my ability to enrol?

  • The program is being piloted to understand the impacts that advanced training may have on service quality, ECE retention and leadership development. Once the first cohort completes their studies, the success of the pilot will be evaluated, and a decision will be made about whether the program will continue to be offered.
  • If an additional program is being planned, enrolment information will be available on our website and proactively shared with the sector. The soonest start date for a second cohort would be January 2024.

Who is eligible to participate?

The program was designed for experienced ECEs. To be eligible, you must:

  • Hold a diploma or degree in early childhood education that meets EECD’s Level 2 or 3 classification requirements;
  • Be currently employed in Nova Scotia’s early learning and child care or pre-primary sector;
  • Possess a minimum of 5 years of work experience in a licensed child care or pre-primary program in Nova Scotia;
  • Have worked at least 1,080 hours per year in the previous 5 years;
  • Have received your employer’s support to participate, and
    • ECEs looking to specialize in Infant and Toddler, or Preschool specializations must have employer confirmation that they work regularly with those age groups.

What is the format of the pilot program?

  • The program is a one-year, part-time program delivered entirely virtually by the Nova Scotia Community College. Learners must complete six courses, for a total of 45 credit hours. The courses will follow a modular format, allowing students to move through one course at a time. Each course is seven and a half weeks in duration. 
  • The program begins with two foundational-level courses: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-racism in Early Learning Environments and Coaching, Mentoring and Building Communities of Practice in Early Learning Environments. 
  • Learners then complete four specialty level courses in the areas of: Infant and Toddler Early Learning and Care, Preschool Age Learning and Care, Outdoor Play, and Pedagogical Leadership.

When is the pilot cohort expected to graduate?

  • Approximately 100 individuals participating in the pilot program are expected to graduate this August.

If the pilot continues, will costs be covered by the Department?

  • It is possible that a portion of program costs may be reimbursed by the Department upon successful completion of the program. However, anyone planning to participate should be prepared to fund themselves, with the possibility of partial reimbursement upon program completion.
Career navigation

EECD has partnered with Nova Scotia Works and the Nova Scotia Career Development Association to establish career professionals to support and guide ECEs in their career paths.

  • Career navigation is available at no cost to all ECEs currently working in child care or pre-primary who want to participate in one of EECD’s Pathways to Education opportunities.
  • Career assistance will be provided virtually to support career decision-making for ECEs interested in furthering their studies. This will help ECEs develop their career paths, establish learning plans, support them in the application process, and be available to students while they study.
  • Interested ECEs can call their nearest Nova Scotia Works office and request to meet with the ECE career navigator. Nova Scotia Works locations and contact information is available on their website under “Visit Us”: www.novascotiaworks.ca.
Continuing education funding program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

Course and textbook reimbursements available to eligible child care staff pursuing part-time studies in a diploma or degree in early childhood education while working full- or part-time.

Early childhood educator certification

To professionally recognize ECEs, Nova Scotia is initiating a project to shift from a classification to a certification system.

  • Certification is a process that allows individuals who have completed required post-secondary training to be recognized as professionals in a certain field.
  • Certification provides assurance to employers and the public of an individual’s professional competence, commitment, and specialized skills.
  • Other professions that use certification include counselling, nursing, speech language pathology, and social work.
  • EECD is working with an external consultant to develop the ECE certification system, which includes standards, scopes of practice, and required knowledge and skillsets.
ECE Link diploma program

For ECEs working in licensed child care or pre-primary to earn their high school and early childhood education diplomas. (Workplace practicum)

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD.
  • Continue to work while studying – courses are online and outside of work hours.
  • No need to take time off to complete practicum – you will be completing it in your current workplace.
  • Post-secondary institutions will assess your current knowledge and skills and give credit for what you already know. This process is called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) and allows you to take fewer courses to obtain a diploma.

For individuals not working in licensed child care or pre-primary to earn their high school and early childhood education diplomas. (Regular practicum)

Leadership Training for ECEs

The program is designed for child care centre directors, and early childhood educators (ECEs) aspiring to become directors, who wish to develop the knowledge, skill and competence in the essential elements of administering and managing early learning and child care programs.

Modules focus on core administrative competencies of leadership such as:

  • Management and leadership
  • Pedagogical leadership
  • Managerial communication
  • Computer applications
  • Financial management
  • Marketing
  • Strategic planning
  • Risk management
  • Policy development
  • Collaboration and mentoring practices
  • Program/curriculum evaluation

Leadership Training for ECEs is available at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Online Learning Network - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

In June 2018, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched an online learning network targeted to those in leadership positions to support leadership and capacity building in the child care sector.

The online learning network offers an eLearning course (in English and French) on the Early Learning Curriculum Framework (ELCF) for early childhood educators, directors, pedagogical leaders, educators, and other staff in regulated child care and Pre-primary Programs throughout Nova Scotia.

  • The course takes about 2 hours to complete
  • Participants will receive a certificate, which can be counted towards the 30 hours of PD
  • To access the course through the learning network, please register here: English | French

If you experience any issues setting up your account, please direct your inquiries to support@coursepark.com 

Professional development

Nova Scotia is developing a new approach to professional development (PD) to ensure ECEs continue to grow and learn throughout their career.

  • The new approach to PD will centre around three key areas:
    • foundational professional development for ECEs
    • continuous professional learning
    • Advanced Practitioner Program
  • There will be mandatory PD for ECEs working in regulated child care settings related to provincial initiatives such as the Early Learning Curriculum Framework, the Pyramid Model, Duty to Report Protocols, etc.
  • ECEs are required to complete 30 hours of PD every three years to maintain their classification.
  • EECD will continue to provide PD opportunities for ECEs. ECEs may choose to take other PD courses as part of their own professional growth which would be at a cost to them.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program
Status: Program in progress

Funding available for staff currently working in licensed child care with at least 6500 hours of experience to complete the RPL process. Successful candidates are eligible for a Level 2 classification.

  • EECD funding available to first 20 applicants in 2023–2024 fiscal year.
  • Applicants approved for funding are required to participate in the RPL preparatory program, Pathways to Prosperity, funded by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration and delivered by Opportunity Place Career Resource Centre.
  • Pathways to Prosperity provides essential training and skill development customized to the RPL program to help participants successfully complete the process.
  • RPL identifies, documents, assesses, and recognizes existing skills and knowledge towards the achievement of units of competency for various qualifications, certifications, or accredited courses.
  • The RPL certificate leads to a Level 2 classification but does not count as an early childhood education diploma.

Opportunities for individuals who want to enter the ECE profession

Bursaries for full-time students - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

For students enrolled in full-time studies at approved Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions in 2023–24.

  • Bursaries of up to $5000 paid over the course of an early childhood education diploma program.
  • Students must be studying full-time and remain in good academic standing. 
  • Students must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (temporary foreign workers, international students, or any other person in Canada on a temporary resident visa do not qualify). 
  • Ask your post-secondary institution for a copy of the bursary terms and conditions and apply directly through your institution:
  • Payments will be issued to the training institution on behalf of successful applicants in the fall and winter semesters. Training institution will apply the bursary to each successful student’s account.
  • Priority for funding will be given to students from equity deserving groups.
  • Bursaries are also available to full-time students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Child and Youth Study at MSVU. Contact MSVU’s Department of Child and Youth Study for details.
  • The following students are not eligible to apply:
    • Students currently enrolled in an ECE diploma already funded by EECD.
    • Students who are currently receiving other EECD funding (e.g., staff receiving continuing education funding for part-time studies).

In 2021-2022 EECD offered one-time bursaries for up to 300 students studying full-time in an ECE diploma or degree program in Nova Scotia. To support Nova Scotia’s focus on the development of a diverse and inclusive workforce, students belonging to an underrepresented group received additional funds. 

ECE Virtual Diploma Program - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

Full-time, two-year diploma program for applicants living and planning to work as an ECE in hard-to-recruit areas.

  • Tuition, books, and student fees funded by EECD.
  • Study online with scheduled class times during daytime hours.

Designated areas will be prioritized for admission. Designated Areas:

  • Northern (Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough Counties)
  • South Shore (Lunenburg and Queens Counties)
  • Western Cape Breton (Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Counties).

 

NSCC – September 2024 (program brochure)

High school transition to ECE diplomas

Over the next few years, EECD will work with our partners in public schools and post-secondary institutions to offer high school students career counselling and college credit courses in early childhood education. This work is expected to be complete by 2025.

Pathway program for newcomers (work and learn ECE diploma)
Status: Program in progress

Working with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, EECD is launching a pathway program to support newcomers to enter the profession.

  • Newcomers gain employment in a licensed child care or pre-primary program while earning their diploma through part-time online studies.
  • Tuition, books, student fees, and language training funded by EECD.
  • Pathway diploma programs are available at NSCECE and NSCC.
  • Priority seats for ISANS clients who complete the early childhood education communications course.
  • Must be a newcomer with legal permanent residency or have refugee or protected persons status, or a recent Canadian citizen who has lived in Canada for less than 5 years.
  • To participate, email ISANS at employment_services@isans.ca.
Tuition support for part-time ECE diploma students - Accepting Applications
Status: Accepting Applications

EECE will reimburse a portion of costs for students studying part-time in an ECE diploma program at an approved Nova Scotia post-secondary institution in 2023–24.

  • Tuition and textbook reimbursements of up to $1000 for the 2023–2024 fiscal year.
  • Students must be enrolled in a part-time ECE diploma program through NSCC’s eCampus, NSCECE’s online hybrid program, or Université Sainte Anne.
  • Students must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (temporary foreign workers, international students, or any other person in Canada on a temporary resident visa do not qualify). 
  • The following students are not eligible to apply: 
    • Students currently enrolled in an ECE diploma already funded by EECD.
    • Students who are currently receiving other EECD funding (e.g., child care staff receiving continuing education funding for part-time studies).
    • Students currently working in the sector.
  • Ask your post-secondary institution for a copy of the terms and conditions and apply directly through your institution.

Terms and Conditions
Application form