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Certificate & Diploma Early Childhood Development and Family Studies

Field of Study: Early Childhood Development
Institution: University of the West Indies Open Campus
Island: Caribbean


The Certificate and Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies are two new programmes derived from the B.Ed. in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies Programme. The intended date of delivery for both programmes will be September 2012. The certificate programme of study is conducted over one year of full-time study and comprises a total of 30 credits. For the diploma programme, the study will be conducted over 18 months full-time and comprises a total of 45 credits.

The Certificate in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies programme is designed to equip professionals with the foundation knowledge needed to work with young children and their families in diverse settings. The two programmes are designed to support individuals in developing their career pathways in the field of early childhood education and family studies. 

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Who is this programme for?

  • Secondary/High school leavers interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education and family studies.
  • Individuals with a certificate in social work, psychology, pediatric nursing, children and youth studies.
  • Untrained individuals with at least one year’s experience working in an early childhood setting from diverse disciplines.
  • Individuals with degrees in another discipline seeking a change of career to early childhood and family studies. 


Programme Structure

 The design of the programme has been based on an assessment of regional   and international trends in relation to early childhood development and family studies. Courses are delivered online and students must have access to a computer and the Internet. Online orientation is conducted before the start of the programme.

In order to qualify for the award of the Certificate in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies, a student must complete 30 credits.  For the Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Family studies students will need to complete 45 credits. The table below shows the credits and levels for each qualification.




  Level  1


Level 2


Total Credits


Certificate in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies


30 credits




30 credits


Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies


30 credits


15 credits


45 credits









Students pursuing the certificate full-time may be able to complete the course in two (2) semesters over one year. For the diploma, full-time students may be able to complete the programme in three semesters.  Students may however, pursue these programmes part-time according to their capacity to manage their academic and professional responsibilities.


When will the programme start?

 Students may start this programme in August of the academic year.


Entry Requirements

 The programme is intended to cater to a wide range of people who work with young children and their families in a variety of settings across the region. In this regard, the programme is targeted at both experienced professionals and beginners to childhood and family studies. New entrants must meet the University’s normal matriculation requirements in order to be accepted into the programme.  They must satisfy the requirements in either (a) or (b) or (c) or (d) below:

(a) As entrants with CXC-CSEC and GCE qualifications having:

• An acceptable pass in CXC-CSEC Mathematics or its equivalent; AND

• An acceptable pass in CXC-CSEC English A; AND

• One of the following minimum qualifications:

?       Either five subjects (at least two GCE A Level or CAPE) and the remainder acceptable passes in CXC-CSEC or GCE O’ Level; OR

?       Four subjects (at least three GCE A Level or CAPE) and the fourth an acceptable pass in the CXC-CSEC or GCE O’ Level

• Grade requirements for CXC/CSEC subjects are General Proficiency, Grades I or II pre-1998 and        Grades I, II, or III from June 1998.

(b) Holders of five (5) CXC-CSEC or GCE O-Level passes or equivalent, not necessarily obtained at the same sitting.

(c) Entrants with a Certificate from UWI or another approved Caribbean tertiary level institution, having attained aB+ average or a minimum GPA of 2.5.

(d) Persons over the age of 21, who have been out of school for at least five years, on the basis, of their overall academic and professional attainments.    

 English Language Proficiency Examination

Examination Entrants may be required to take the English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT). This test is used to assess whether persons applying to pursue undergraduate degree programmes at the UWI Open Campus possess a satisfactory level of writing and reading proficiency in English for university academic purposes. All students will be required to have access to a computer and the Internet and have good computing and Internet navigation skills in order to participate in the programme. A compulsory orientation to online learning, study skills and information technology will be provided before commencement of the programme.

.For detailed information on the ELPT, see English Language Proficiency Test.


Academic Preparation

 All courses in the programme will be offered online, blended or face-to-face. In the context of the UWI Open Campus, a fully online programme entails the following:

?     All materials provided by the Open Campus for the study of the course are made available online through the Open Campus’s learning management system, The Learning Exchange.

?     Most teaching-learning activities (with the exception of the practicum) are conducted inThe Learning Exchange.

?     Most assessment-related activities are conducted in The Learning Exchange.

?     In instances where students are required to engage in course-related activity off-line in the real-world environment, all output from such activity, in whatever format, must be submitted through The Learning Exchange.

Studying online is intended to facilitate active, interactive learning.  Thus, students registered for courses will be organised into groups. Each group will have a facilitators and the delivery of the entire course will be managed by the course coordinator.  Both the course coordinator and the group facilitator will be specialists in the field of study. The teaching and learning process online will be monitored, in order to ensure that it is being conducted in a manner that allows for meaningful learning on the part of the students. Learners and academic staff must have access to a computer with Internet access. Online orientation to the technology as well as the underlying philosophy of the programme will be conducted before the start of the programme.

Assessment Overview




Weighting (%)


Assignment 1




Assignment 2




Assignment 3












Open Campus Practicum Element

Research by the National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC] shows that a key step in raising the quality of early childhood programmes is improving the preparation and support of early childhood teachers, and also acknowledging that teachers are the single most important factor in determining programme quality (1992). In light of this, the UWI OC Cert/Dip in Early Childhood Development and Family Studies offers a practicum experience at each level of the program. In order to achieve this, each country site, UWI 12+1, should have at least two (2) Early Childhood Centres and a supervisor to serve the early childhood student population in these territories. Presently, UWI OC has four (4) Demonstration centers located on the Mona (1), Trinidad (2) and Antigua (1) sites. Private and governmental institutions will be encouraged to form partnerships with the Open Campus for the creation of additional practicum placement places on condition that they meet the requirements below.

The above mentioned programme will have two practicums. Each practicum will be based on 100% work based assessment. Students will be assessed within their placement by an assigned supervisor(s). Table (2) below shows the weighting of each work based assessment. 


Practicum Assessment Overview



Work-Based  Assessment


Weighting (%)


1 (Assignment or observation)




2(Assignment or observation)




3(Assignment or observation)






Total= 100%



Course of Study

Course CodeCourse NamePre-requisties

Level 1 (Certificate and Diploma Courses - 30 Credits)

Courses (Semester 1)  
ECFS-1001History & Philosophy of Early Childhood Development(3 credits)None
ECFS1002Child Growth and DevelopmentNone
ECFS-1003Health, Safety & NutritionNone
FOUN1001English for Academic PurposesNone
FOUN1XXXReflective Practice None
Courses (Semester 2)  
ECFS-1004Understanding BehaviorsNone
ECFS-1006Curriculum Development and Assessment in EarlyNone
FOUN1301Law, Governance, Economy and SocietyNone
ECFS-1007Practicum 1None
ECFS-1008Child Rights & Protection IssuesNone
Level 2  (Diploma= 30 credits from Level 1 and 15 credits from Level 2)
Courses (Semester 1)  
ECFS-2001Diversity and Inclusion in Early Child DevelopmentNone
ECFS-2003Practicum 2Practicum 1
ECFS-2007Designing Inclusive Early Childhood settingDiversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood Development
ECFS-2008Working with Families & CommunitiesNone
ECFS-2009Literacy, Numeracy and Science in Early ChildhoodNone

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