What’s the difference between ECE, ECA and Montessori certificate at Capital College

22 April 2024
Posted in News
22 April 2024 Capital College

What's the difference between ECE, ECA and Montessori certificates at Capital College

Whether you’re looking to work with children in daycare, preschool, or childcare settings or are already working in the field and want to upskill, Capital College’s ECE, ECA, and Montessori courses can help. 

These courses provide academic learning and practicum hours to prepare you for working in rewarding but sometimes challenging childcare settings. Some courses get you job-ready in as little as five weeks, while others are more comprehensive, two-year programs. 

Which do you choose? Keep reading to learn about Capital College’s ECE, ECA, and Montessori Education programs. 

What is an Early Childhood Assistant (ECA)?

Did you know you can become an Early Childhood Assistant (ECA) in as little as five weeks? ECAs receive a teaching certificate that allows them to work in various childcare settings as a teaching or childcare assistant, including: 

  • Montessori childcare centres
  • Family resource programs
  • Parent co-operative centers
  • Private home Montessori care
  • Settlement centers
  • Childcare consulting programs
  • At camps (as camp counselors) 

You’ll need to dedicate 30-45 hours to this 5-week Capital College ECA program, depending on which elective you choose:

  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition: 30 hours
  • Child Development 1: 40 hours
  • Guiding Behaviour: 45 hours

Successful completion of this course requires a minimum 65% grade. You can start working right away, under the supervision of an ECE, or choose to further your education by earning your ECE or Montessori certificates or diplomas. The choice is yours. 

What is an Early Childhood Educator (ECE)?

An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) works with children in school or childcare settings and supports their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth. You may pursue your ECE training after completing an ECA or jump directly into your ECE. 

At Capital College, you can choose between two ECE programs:

Early Childhood Education (Certificate)

Choosing this 52-week (11 months) course gives you 480 hours of academics and 434 practicum hours (split over three different placements). Upon completion, you can begin working as an early childhood educator, continue your education to earn your ECE Diploma, or pursue a Montessori education. 

Early Childhood Education (Diploma)

This program is longer than the certificate program. To obtain your ECE diploma, this course is 80 weeks (18 months) long, covering 923 hours of academic learning and 669 hours of practicum experience. You can use your ECE Diploma to assist you in progressing into a bachelor’s degree at another post-secondary institution. 

What is Montessori?

Montessori is an approach to education with the fundamental belief that a child learns best within a social environment that supports and respects each individual’s unique development. To teach in these environments, you require your Montessori certificate. 

At Capital College, you can choose between two Montessori programs: 

Montessori Infant & Toddler Education Program

This 38-week program gives you a Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Diploma for teaching children 0-3 years old. It includes 210 academic hours and 540 practicum hours. Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to work in Montessori environments for our youngest children. 

Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Education (Intensive)

This 52-week program prepares you to teach 3-6 year olds. You’ll receive 374 hours of academic learning and are expected to complete 540 practicum hours. Upon successful graduation, you can work as a Montessori Educator or Assistant.

Comparison: ECE vs ECA vs Montessori Certificates

Here is a comparison chart to help you decide whether to pursue an ECE, ECA, or Montessori certificate through Capital College: 

ECE Programs ECA Program Montessori Programs
Course Outcome Certificate or Diploma Diploma Certificate or Diploma
Course length 52 weeks / 80 weeks 5 weeks 38 weeks / 52 weeks
Academic hours 480 hours / 923 hours 30-45 hours 210 hours /374 hours
Practicum hours 434 hours / 669 hours N/A 540 hours /540 hours
Program cost $13,248 ($19,348 for international students) / $21, 894 ($35,144 for international students)  $2,384 ($3,234 for international students)  $9,028 ($13,548 for international students) /

$12,448 ($19,548 for international students) 

Job readiness Montessori childcare, family resource programs, parent co-operative centers, private home Montessori care, settlement centers, childcare consulting programs, camp counselors Early Childhood Assistant Educator in any preschool/ daycare within BC Montessori childcare, family resource programs, parent co-operative centers, private home Montessori care, settlement centers, childcare consulting programs, camp counselors

Try a combined ECE/Montessori path

Another educational path you can choose is an ECE-Montessori combined program. Capital College offers this course, which is a comprehensive 70-week program that includes 679 academic hours and 726 practicum placement hours. 

This program will prepare you for the challenges (and rewards) of working in any ECE or Montessori childcare or school setting. You’ll receive an ECE Certificate and a Montessori ECE Diploma upon graduation. 

This in-depth program costs $22,482 or $34,302 for international students. 

What about student aid, bursaries, and scholarships?

You can apply for scholarships, bursaries, and other student aid to help pay for your tuition fees. If you have a scholarship or student aid, ask your program advisor if it can be applied to your courses at Capital College. 

Here are two government-funded ECE bursary programs that you may also qualify for:

The ECE Student Bursary provides Canadian students with up to $500 per course. This can be applied to up to eight courses for a total of $4,000. 

The ECE Workforce Bursary helps those already working in childcare to upgrade their credentials through an accredited ECE or Montessori program. The bursary awards up to $5,000 per semester for your tuition. It can also assist with other expenses such as loss of wages or travel. 

Ready to learn more?

Are you ready to enter the exciting world of early childhood education? Capital College offers industry experts and up-to-date theory and learning to help you become the best ECE, ECA, or Montessori teacher you can be. 

Submit your interest in a Capital College program, and a program advisor will contact you to help you pick the course that best fits your passions and career goals.