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Early Childhood Education (Two-Year Ontario College Diploma)

A lady smiling with a child
Ontario College Diploma

Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

Quality early childhood education (ECE) is critical in preparing children for future learning. As an early childhood educator, you will play an integral role in promoting children's development from birth to age 12 within the following five domains: cognitive, social, emotional, language and physical.

In the Online ECE program, you will engage in theoretical studies along with practical applications. Moreover, professional practice and ethics will guide you in working with families, understanding pedagogy and fostering belonging and well-being in children.

Upon completion of your program, you will apply to the College of Early Childhood Educators, the provincial regulatory body, to become a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) in Ontario.

Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) including Grade 12 English (C or U) (minimum 60%)
    Grade 12 equivalency certificate achieved through College academic upgrading
    Mature Student Status (19 years of age or older) with Grade 12 English (C or U) (minimum 60%)

    To view alternatives to the above Grade 12 English requirement, please visit Durham College's English Proficiency Requirement webpage.

  • Equivalent secondary school diploma from another province or territory in Canada (Please note: A recognized equivalent to an OSSD may be accepted if you meet the levels, subjects and overall averages required for admission to the college. Generally the requirement is successful completion of a Grade 12 diploma except in Quebec where the equivalent is Secondary V)
    Equivalent secondary school diploma from outside of Canada. Applicants who have been educated outside of Canada must have their documents evaluated by a credential assessment service (ICAS) and submit proof of educational qualifications in order to determine if their level of achievement is equivalent to an OSSD. To obtain a Credential Assessment Report visit either ICAS (1.800.321.6021) or WES (1.866.343.0070)

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office recommended.
  • Clear Criminal Reference Check with Vulnerable Sector Screening is required for Field Placement. Without this, you may not be accepted for placement by a field placement agency and may be unable to complete the requirements of the program.
  • You must maintain an overall average of 60% or a GPA of 2.0 in order to graduate.
  • A minimum of 25% of courses must be completed through Durham College.

Program Admission

Note: Please do not send official transcripts by mail or fax. An electronic copy of your transcript can be emailed to us at ppladmissions@durhamcollege.ca with your program admission form.

Students are required to complete and submit this form to indicate that the program's admission requirements have been met.

Click to access the Program Admission Form

This form must be submitted and an Admission Acceptance Letter received prior to registering for any courses.

Program Of Study

Students are required to print or save a copy of the Program of Study when beginning the program. This document contains critical details about program progression and graduation requirements specific to the academic year in which your program was started.

Click to access the Program of Study for the current academic year.

Students who began this program prior to the current academic year may contact the Professional and Part-Time Learning office at ppl@durhamcollege.ca or 905-721-3052 to obtain your Program of Study and graduation requirements.

General Education Electives: This program requires the completion of General Education Elective (GNED) courses in addition to core program courses.

Click to access General Education Elective Course Options

Field Placements & Observing the Young Child Courses:

The Early Childhood Education program contains three field placement courses and one observation course.

Students must visit the Field Placement Page and the ECE Placements & Observing the Young Child FAQs page a minimum of 1-2 terms before they wish to register for a placement or observing course to familiarize themselves with important details, submission deadlines, expectations and specific requirements for placement.

Students may also visit our Field Placement Updates During COVID-19 page for specific options offered during the pandemic.

Please also be advised of the following:

  • Seat availability for field placement courses are limited. Please visit the field placement page for further details.
  • Field Placement is available to Ontario residents only.
  • You cannot complete your placement where you are also employed, or where you are also a parent.
  • Your shifts must be no less than 5 hours in duration and not exceed 9 hours per day.
  • Students who have completed the first two ECE field placements via Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) will not be eligible for a specialized setting in the final field placement.
  • ECE Field Placement 3 is not eligible for PLAR Challenge.
  • Students must complete all prerequisite courses prior to applying for each field placement, and have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
  • The prerequisite for the final field placement (ECE Field Placement 3), is successful completion of all other courses in the program and a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be equipped to:

  • Plan curriculum that is based on a thorough understanding of child development
  • Plan and implement individual programs and curriculum to meet the developmental needs of children
  • Utilize a variety of observation techniques to enhance work with children, families, and co-workers
  • Maintain responsive relationships with individual children and groups of children
  • Establish and maintain safe and healthy environments which best meet the requirements of current legislation, regulatory bodies, and program policies
  • Develop and maintain effective written, oral, nonverbal, and electronic communications with children, families, co-workers, employers, and individuals/agencies
  • Apply relevant legislation, policies, procedures, and regulations to early childhood education programs and settings in a changing social context
  • Apply a personal philosophy of early childhood education within the framework of ethical and professional standards
  • Act in a manner consistent with principles of fairness, equity, and diversity to support the development and learning of individual children, within the context of his/her family, culture, and society

Career Options

Potential career and industry options may include:

  • Resource consultant for children with exceptionalities
  • School board including full-day kindergarten classrooms
  • Childcare centres
  • Private home childcare provider
  • Nursery schools

The Ministry of Children and Youth is offering financial support in the form of Education Grants, Travel Grants and Training Allowances to individuals currently working in licensed childcare settings who want to upgrade their qualifications in order to obtain an Early Childhood Education diploma. For information and forms please visit www.ecegrants.on.ca.

Related Credentials and Courses

Graduates interested in further professional development may be interested in the following courses/programs:


Early Childhood Resource Consulting

Educational Support


Advocacy and Professionalism in Early Learning and Care Administration

Computer Applications and Financial Planning in Early Childhood Education

Management Leadership Skills and Staff Development for Early Childhood Educators

Please view the ECE Pathways to Degrees Page for a list of this program’s partnership programs.

Program Related Questions? Call 905.721.3052

If you are interested in applying for financial aid, please visit the Professional and Part-Time Learning OSAP Eligibility webpage.

Currently offered

Course Title Location/
Delivery Method
COMM 2785Academic Writing for Success StrategiesOnline
COMM 2785Academic Writing for Success StrategiesMonthly Intake Online
GNED 1587Artificial Intelligence (7 weeks)Online
GNED 1587Artificial Intelligence (7 weeks)Monthly Intake Online
CHLD 2380Child Development IMonthly Intake Online
CHLD 2380Child Development IOnline
CHLD 3383Child Development IIOnline
WRIT 1981Children's Literature IntroductionMonthly Intake Online
WRIT 1981Children's Literature IntroductionOnline
COMM 1884Communication FoundationsDistance Education
GNED 1489Complementary Therapies IntroductionOnline
PSYC 2080Criminal Psychology - Criminal MindsOnline
PSYC 1080Criminal Psychology - Psychopathic MindsMonthly Intake Online
PSYC 1080Criminal Psychology - Psychopathic MindsOnline
ENG 1080Critical ThinkingMonthly Intake Online
ENG 1080Critical ThinkingOnline
CRIM 1080Cults and TerrorismOnline
CRIM 1080Cults and TerrorismMonthly Intake Online
CURR 1581Curriculum Development I - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
CURR 2581Curriculum Development II - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
CURR 3581Curriculum Development III - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
GNED 1483Domestic and Workplace ViolenceOnline
FWK 2381Early Childhood Education Field Placement I & SeminarDistance Education
FWK 4387Early Childhood Education Field Placement II & SeminarDistance Education
FWK 6384Early Childhood Education Field Placement III & SeminarDistance Education
FWKP 1382Early Childhood Education Field Placement Preparation IDistance Education
FWKP 2382Early Childhood Education Field Placement Preparation IIDistance Education
FWKP 3382Early Childhood Education Field Placement Preparation IIIDistance Education
ECE 1381Early Childhood Education Practices IntroductionOnline
ENVI 1080Environmental CitizenshipOnline
ENVI 1080Environmental CitizenshipMonthly Intake Online
ECE 2382Ethics and Professional PracticeDistance Education
CHLD 3382Exceptionalities Introduction - Early Childhood EducationOnline
GNED 1380Global CitizenshipOnline
CHLD 1382Guidance of The Young ChildMonthly Intake Online
CHLD 1382Guidance of The Young ChildOnline
GNED 1484History of Indigenous Canadian RelationsOnline
CHLD 4581Human SexualityOnline
CHLD 4581Human SexualityMonthly Intake Online
GNED 1488Indigenous Identity and Relationship to the LandOnline
GNED 1381Legalization of Cannabis in Canada (7 weeks)Monthly Intake Online
GNED 1381Legalization of Cannabis in Canada (7 weeks)Online
ENG 1384LiteratureOnline
CCA 1585Management Leadership SkillsOnline
CHLD 1383Observing The Young ChildDistance Education
ECE 3381Partnership with FamiliesOnline
HLTH 2385Personal and Professional WellnessDistance Education
PSYC 1083Personality PsychologyOnline
ECE 4380Philosophies of Early Childhood EducationOnline
PFP 8215Politics and Public AdministrationOnline
CHLD 3380Prevention & Identification of Child AbuseDistance Education
GNED 1474Science of Popular Diets: Impact of Nutrition on Human WellnessOnline
PSYC 1051Selected Topics in PsychologyOnline
PSYC 1051Selected Topics in PsychologyMonthly Intake Online
GNED 1481Social Media and SocietyOnline
SOCI 1051Sociology IntroductionOnline
SOCI 1051Sociology IntroductionMonthly Intake Online
HLTH 1387Stress, Wellness & NutritionMonthly Intake Online
HLTH 1387Stress, Wellness & NutritionOnline
GNED 1491The Game of Soccer and its Impact on SocietyOnline
GNED 1487Truth & ReconciliationOnline
HLTH 1385Wellness For ChildrenOnline
HLTH 1385Wellness For ChildrenMonthly Intake Online
GNED 1281Western: A Study in the Film GenreOnline
RELG 1980World Religions: Western and Eastern TraditionsOnline