Certification is the process used to review post-secondary education and equivalent training to better determine an individual's eligibility to work in Alberta's regulated child care system. The Ministry of Alberta Children's Services issues certification for the following three levels of early childhood educators able to work in licensed/approved programs in Alberta:
Parents, as a child’s first teacher, and a child's caregiver play important roles in the development of a child's early growth and development and this partnership between the two is significant. Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) that have a foundational knowledge of early learning and child care (ELCC) can help to create better outcomes for all children and their families - regardless of what early learning environment an early childhood educator might work in.
The AECEA advocates for new certification standards for ECEs that will increase their required (ELCC) educational level and that they undertake ongoing professional learning to strengthen their competency in the following areas:
- how to care ethically (children, families, other staff & self)
- foundational knowledge of how young children learn and develop for an early years pedagogy based on play
- able to support children with diverse abilities
- able to work alongside and communicate with families
- work with evidence based curricular resources
- communicate within a democratic community
- understand how to link research to practice and policy.
Child Development Assistant (CDA)
Certification for a CDA is issued when someone has completed one of the following:
- The Child Care Orientation Course (government sponsored); or
- Completed CCS 3110, 3120, 3130, 3140 and 3150 offered through Alberta high schools; or
- Completed a 45-hour, 3 credit, college/university-level course in child development; or
- Completed the Step Ahead Family Day Home Training or Family Child Care Training Program through an approved home agency registered with the Alberta Family Child Care Association.
A free, online orientation course is available for those without formal training looking to fulfill the requirements of a Child Development Assistant certification. Students must be currently working in a licensed child care program or attending high school with an interest to pursue a career in early learning and child care in order to take the course. Those certified at this level do not have to obtain proof of language proficiency at Canadian Language Bench mark (CLB) Level 7 as they would for other certification levels.
Child Development Worker (CDW)
Certification for a CDW is issued when someone has completed one of the following:
- A one-year Early Learning and Child Care certificate program offered by an Alberta college or university or has completed the equivalent level of training; and
- Obtained proof of language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 7, if your post-secondary training was not completed in English or French.
Child Development Supervisor (CDS)
Certification for a CDS is issued when someone has completed the following:
- A two-year Early Learning and Child Care diploma program offered by an Alberta college or university; or completed the equivalent level of training; and
- Obtained proof of language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 7, if post-secondary training was not completed in English or French