Two students hold up art projects during an elementary student visit to Salisbury Composite High.

Two students hold up art projects during an elementary student visit to Salisbury Composite High.

Sherwood Park, AB. — A new partnership between Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) and Portage College is giving senior high students a head start when it comes to earning post-secondary credits.

In September, the Division launched a new early childhood education dual-credit course for students interested in working in the childcare sector. “I get to earn both high school credits and post-secondary credits, at the same time,” says Alexa Trevors, a Grade 11 student at Salisbury Composite High. “It’s great! We’re learning all about how children grow, their developmental milestones and ways they express themselves.”

The course, Human Development, is an online introductory class that explores the major theories of child development, focusing specifically on birth to age 12. Offered at senior high schools divisionwide, the course is a part of Portage’s Early Learning and Child Care Certificate program, which prepares students to work in the early childhood care industry. The course is also listed in Portage’s Educational Assistant Certificate.

“Students are all enthusiastic about experiencing a college-level course and getting to see the different career possibilities that exist after graduation,” says Karen Clair, the Early Learning and Childhood Teacher at Salisbury Composite High. “Through the course, students are building a foundation to be responsible and informed caregivers, while also growing their life skills, confidence and understanding around childcare.”

Salisbury Composite High adds to the Human Development course they offer. To complement the online component, the school invites elementary students to visit the class once a week. For an hour, elementary students come and participate in guided age-appropriate, play-based activities—similar to a buddy or mentorship program. “It’s a win-win for both groups,” says Clair. “The high school students get to mentor the young learners, and the elementary students teach them how to see the world through their eyes. It’s rewarding for them both. And, as a result, they’re forming a special bond, which is wonderful.”

No matter where students take the course in the Division, after completing it successfully, they earn high school credits, post-secondary credits and can even apply to be a certified Level 1 early childhood educator—a requirement to work in any licensed childcare facility. “I’ve always enjoyed working with young kids and being a role model for them,” says Trevors. “Already, I know how to better read their emotions and respond. Now, I can take the knowledge and skills I’ve learned and put them to good use outside of school.”

In addition to Portage’s Human Development course, EIPS offers a variety of dual-credit courses for students, including welding, automotive services, cabinetmaking, cooking, cosmetology, power engineering, psychology and more. Dual-credit pathways give students a valuable chance to gain experience and succeed academically in a post-secondary environment. For a complete list of EIPS dual-credit programming, visit EIPS Career Pathways.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902