Northern Lights College Expands Early Childhood Education with Work Integrated Learning

Early Childhood Educators are some of the unsung heroes of the education world. With daycares around the province reaching capacity, it’s more important than ever to provide ECEs with access to education options that fit their needs. Northern Lights College’s (NLC) ECE Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program does just that — it allows students to integrate their employment with their education.

Christa Edgelow, an NLC Alumna, chose NLC for her ECE certification at the encouragement of her co-educators, “the centre owner [where I was working] at the time pointed out to me that if I enjoyed working in this field, I would be wise to pursue certification,” said Christa of her decision to study with NLC.

Christa is one of many students who’ve taken part in our ECE-WIL program; this program allows students the chance to complete 15 of the 20 required courses while working a minimum of 20 hours a week. Through weekly classes via video conference, and a community of practice, students bring their knowledge and abilities to the integrated learning environment and are able to share with fellow students.

“I was hesitant about learning online because of the technology aspect of using a computer, and I was worried about my ability to stay on task and manage my time,” Christa explained. In the end, however, Christa embraced the challenge and completed her certification in April 2023.

As Christa started her education, she expected classes to be lecture-based with assignments and was pleasantly surprised when those expectations proved to be incorrect. “When I embraced this new way of learning with WIL, I felt more confident and excited about the educational journey. With time, of course, a bond developed between the students and the professors in the classes and Community of Practice which was similar to in-person classes. In the end, I felt like I had been challenged to earn my diploma by meeting deadlines, engaging in the material, showing understanding of the concepts and developing skills.”

Northern Lights College was recently awarded ongoing base funding to support an additional ECE-WIL program from the BC Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. These funds will help facilitate the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) cohort-based model of delivery that will continue annually.

“The ECE-WIL program is the best option if you’re already working in this field,” says Christa, “the program is a time commitment, but I’m grateful for the convenience of online learning while being able to work. I think being immersed in the field while learning is an ideal format.”

Original article from Northern Lights College