ACC expands early childhood education program

Graduates from Assiniboine Community College’s early childhood education program can now further their learning thanks to a new partnership with Ontario-based Brock University.

Assiniboine graduates can work toward a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education through a new online program, allowing them to expand their knowledge in the field, said Karen Hargreaves, dean of Health and Human Services at ACC.

“The graduates of our program want to stay here and continue to work in the province, but they’re really interested in furthering their early childhood education,” Hargreaves said. “The online format will provide students the flexibility to pursue their ECE degree while still living and seeking in-demand employment opportunities in Manitoba.”

The honours program takes about two and a half years to complete, and the hours ACC graduates have already put toward Assiniboine’s ECE program count.

The online program will allow early childhood educators to pursue further education in work that is “critical” to Canadian communities, Brock University Faculty of Education dean Michael Owen stated in a press release Wednesday.

“In a rapidly expanding and high-demand field, students in the online BECE program have access to world-class education opportunities and a growing network of ECE educators across Canada.”

The program is something ACC graduates have been interested in for a while, Hargreaves said.

“In the past, we’ve had students say, ‘now what? I just want to get some further education to be better at the job that I’m already doing.’ They love the work, and they just want to broaden their knowledge.”

Collaborating with Brock University to set up the partnership was “very easy,” Hargreaves said. The university approached ACC and asked if students would be interested.

“We’re just very excited,” Hargreaves said.

The field of early childhood education is only growing, she added, and new daycare spaces are being created every day, driving the need for more educators throughout the province.

“It’s really important that we keep producing graduates and that we have people that are interested in pursuing this career.”

Assiniboine also offers an early childhood program management (ECPM) program by distance for students seeking their ECE III degree. The program prepares students for a director’s role and the responsibilities as the leader, manager and administrator of an early childhood setting.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun