Early Childhood Education

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Diploma (2 Year)
Campus: Kirkland Lake, Moosonee, Timmins, Distance
Program Length: 4 Semesters

Program Codes
A003 (PC) – Timmins Campus
A065 (KL) – Kirkland Lake Campus
A209 (JB) – Moosonee Campus
A015 (CK) – Distance

Nurture young minds and transform the future

Thanks to Northern’s Early Childhood Education program, you’ll thrive as part of a multidisciplinary team that works with infants and children up to 12 years old. And – alongside speech pathologists, behavioural therapists, and parents – you’ll nurture joy and imagination to help these youngsters transition successfully to the school system.

In a dynamic group learning environment, you’ll explore how to best support a child’s growth with creative strategies that leverage their natural stages of development.

You’ll also improve your communication skills, master teaching through play, and plan and implement activities designed to reveal a child’s full potential – no matter their level and unique challenges.

It’s a rewarding two-year diploma guaranteed to jump-start your career as an ECE (Early Childhood Educator). And it all wraps up with a 600-hour fieldwork placement that will set you up for success.

Children’s Play Lab

The Children’s Play Lab provides students with the opportunity to design, setup, monitor and make improvements to an early years learning environment. Partnerships with local early learning centres will provide our students with the unique opportunity to work closely with young children in a controlled environment.

Career Opportunities

Early Childhood Educators/ECE’s may find employment in daycare centres, nursery schools, agencies or recreation departments, toy-lending libraries, college day care labs, friendship centres,Ontario Early Years Centres, family resource centres, early learning literacy programs, hospital play rooms and Full-day early learning programs in JK/SK classrooms.


Contact Information

Erin Holmes
Program Coordinator
Tel: 705-235-3211 ext. 2156
Email: holmese@northern.on.ca

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
  • Grade 12 English (C, U) (Minimum 60% GPA required) or equivalent
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office (word processing, spreadsheets), web search engines and e-mail systems.


Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or admissions@northern.on.ca.

Additional Requirements for International Students

In addition to the general admission requirements, international students must have proof of English Proficiency and meet the requirements below.

1. Proof of Senior High School Diploma/Certificate

2. English Proficiency (we will require one of the following):

  • IELTS Academic International English Language Testing System: a minimum overall score of 6.0 must be achieved with no individual band score under 6.0; however, we will accept one band at 5.5.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Computer-based overall minimum score of 79
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic: Graduate Diploma: 58+

3. CO-OP Work Permit is mandatory for this program to participate in unpaid program placements.

If your country of citizenship has English as its official language, we may accept alternate proof of English Proficiency.

All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact admissions@northern.on.ca.

Additional Information

Requirements for Field Work Placement
International students require a criminal reference check from their home country on top of their criminal reference check in Canada in order to be able to go on placement.

In order to prepare you for fieldwork placement, you will be required to have a current resume and cover letter. Fieldwork placement (FWP) agencies may require additional documentation in order for you to begin FWP.  The specific documents will be made known to you in your Reflective Practice course. A recent criminal reference check – (within 3 months) may be required prior to the start of classes in September.

Students who do not comply with the immunization requirements may not be allowed into the field work settings and as such may not be able to complete the placements and practicums required for graduation from the program. CPR re-certification, WHMIS, criminal reference checks and immunization updates are required annually. Students will not be allowed on placement lab component if documentation is not completed.

To be eligible for participation in field work practice, students must not have been convicted of any criminal offence for which that person has not been pardoned. An unpardoned criminal record may result in inability to participate in fieldwork practice courses and will prevent the student from graduating. Any costs for these tests/certifications will be the responsibility of the applicant.

It is important to note that this program requires a field work component. While the intent is for placements to be arranged in the student’s own community, when this is not possible, alternate communities will need to be considered. Students are responsible for the costs of travel to and from field work placement sites, parking costs, etc. A dress code is in effect during all lab practice sessions and during the field work component of the programs. All course work must be successfully completed prior to field work placements.

A passing grade of 60% is required for all Community Services program courses and electives. To succeed in this program, students must be highly motivated, highly committed as well as physically and mentally fit. Post-acceptance into the program, a questionnaire outlining previous experience, volunteer activities and interests must be completed and returned to the College.

Semester 1
CM1913 Communications I – Model B

Communications 1 is designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as required in academic and workplace settings. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork, and presentation skills. Topics covered include the three-step writing process, paragraph development, academic integrity, essay composition, grammar and mechanics, A.P.A. and employment documents. Attention to detail is emphasized.

EC1073 Outdoor and Nature Play

For children, play is learning. There is no better space for kids to learn than the outdoors, and there is no better play resource than nature. Children can be taught in their early years to play outdoors. Children reap great benefits as they grow a connection and appreciation of the natural environment. In the structured, busy and technologically-advanced world they live in, the role of outdoor play that is experienced as children is being forgotten. This course will nurture the educators awareness for the importance of nature play as any activity that gets children active or thinking actively outdoors, with the end goal of building skills and ability to play without the need for parental or adult control. This can be in any setting, so long as it’s outdoors. It supports children being left to their own devices while caregivers supervise from a distance. Adults can also actively participate in nature play, however, through child-led play activities. Nature play significantly improves all aspects of child development – physical, cognitive, social and emotional. Playing outdoors grows resilience, self-confidence, initiative, creativity and more. It encourages the joy of movement; it nurtures wild imaginations, experimentation, friendships, social connections and behaviour.

EC1083 Child Development

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the developmental stages of childhood. Students will take a brief look at prenatal development in order to determine the possible impact this may have on later development. The remainder of the course will be to study the developmental stages from birth to young adolescence. Both theoretical and applications are employed to study social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of infants, toddlers, preschool children and middle childhood and young adolescents.

EC1093 Intro to Early Childhood Education

This course is designed to introduce the student to the philosophy and practice of providing high quality care and education in an Early Childhood Education setting. The intent of this course is to equip students with techniques for guiding children as they move through the routines of the Child Care Centre and Full Day Early Learning programs. The student will also become acquainted with the educational purposes and goals that underlie current practice.

EC1103 Observation and Documentation

This course presents basic techniques of observation and documentation. This includes pedagogical documentation, as well as recording and interpreting the different skills and behaviours of young children (birth to age 12 years old) and using this information to then integrate children’s individual profiles. The information collected will be used for educational guidance following developmentally appropriate practices in a diversity of early childhood settings.

EC2023 Pre-School Environment

This course explores the foundations and process of play in preschool environments. Students will plan and implement child-centred, developmentally-appropriate experiences and environments that promote child growth and self-esteem. Learning through play will be examined as a foundation to further learning. Observation and documentation methods will be used to examine how play supports child development in the preschool setting.

EC4033 Infant Toddler Environment

This course will cover the basic elements of Infant and Toddler Environments and how they differ from preschool environments. Successful students will identify responsive relationships as the foundation of all later learning. They will be able to assist infants and toddlers construct knowledge by creating a supportive environment, and by providing experiences that will facilitate growth and development.

Semester 2
CM2913 Communications II – Model B

Communications 2 is a one-semester course that applies the oral and written communication tools learned in COMM1  required by the workplace. The student will enhance the writing skills acquired in COMM1 and continue to learn to produce effective documents including business letters, emails, employment documents as well as reports applicable to their field of study. Students will also participate in mock interviews (as applicable) so that they are prepared to transition into the competitive employment market. Students will continue to learn and apply proper language and grammatical structures and apply editing strategies including APA to documents through both in-class/online activities and through the usage of the customized Mylab online grammar tool. As with COMM1, the content will be inclusive and reflect the diverse workplace that students will experience in the future.

*Students for whom English is not their first language will receive additional language support through the concurrent delivery of CM2933 (Enhanced Comm2) which focuses on the foundational grammar, punctuation and sentence structure skills essential to academic success.

EC1053 School Age Environment

This course is designed to introduce you to school-age children and their care as part of a child-care and school setting. In addition, this course will provide you with information and techniques to help you work effectively with diverse families and to design and develop age-appropriate activities and learning experiences. Since most ECE students will likely provide care for school-age children through before- and after-school programs, Full Day Early Learning programs in JK/SK Classrooms as well as summer and week-end programs, the focus of this course will be on school-age children’s social, emotional, physical, moral, cognitive and self development. In the end, the intent of this course is to enable you to use your knowledge of school-age children to develop skills to plan, carry-out and evaluate a well rounded school-age program.

EC1063 Kindergarten Curriculum

This course will introduce students to the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum and the role of the Early Childhood Educator in the education system.

EC2003 Creative Teaching Strategies

This course will introduce students’ to children’s curriculum. This course is designed to enable the student to develop skills to plan, carry out, and evaluate a well-rounded creative program in a childcare or school suitable for children. Topics include: field trips, cooking with children, classroom displays, math and science. Storytelling techniques will be studied including presenting flannel board stories, puppets, music and creative movement activities to children.

EC2013 Creative Arts Workshop

In this course, the theory of creativity, the stages children pass through in developing skill in artwork, and the methods and techniques of planning, conducting and evaluating various creative activities will be studied. The purpose of this course is to enable the student to plan and implement a creative arts program suitable for children aged one to twelve years.

EC2073 Child Guidance

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) encounter children with exceptionalities and/or challenging behaviours who require guidance and support. Using the theory and knowledge gained, Child Guidance provides positive guidance strategies that are introduced and explored in-depth to increase an ECE’s ability to successfully support all children in their care. Child Guidance focuses on children living with exceptionalities or exhibiting challenging behaviors and their possible underlying causes. Students also explore the cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and behavioural differences often associated of children with varying exceptionalities. Throughout the course, the emphasis remains on the uniqueness of an individual child and the evidence-based practices, which support specific child-centred guidance methods.

EC2103 Preparation for Placement

Students will develop an awareness of the importance of the integrative experience of fieldwork that assists with blending theory and practice. This course is meant to serve as an opportunity to facilitate the process of weaving together academic concepts and real experience in fieldwork placement. The Fieldwork Placement Manual will be reviewed; specific competencies and requirements for placement will be identified. The student will examine his/her role in relation to field placement expectations. Policies, processes, roles, responsibilities, and expectations relating to fieldwork placement will be discussed. This course will introduce the student to the concept of reflective practice and professional development. Self-assessment activities will be used as a means of helping the student to reflect on achievements and to examine the implications for further learning. This course will help the student clarify his/her expectations and prepare for a successful fieldwork placement experience.

Semester 3
AA2063 Autism Spectrum Disorders

This course will assist the learner in developing a basic understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Characteristics of Autism will be explored; the triad of common difficulties will be explained and used as a basis for better understanding of individuals with an ASD. The learner will identify the particular needs of individuals with an ASD, as well as the needs of the family, the school, the community, etc. Evidence-based intervention techniques will be studied in order to provide the learner with recognized intervention methods when dealing with individuals with an ASD.

DS4063 Health and Nutrition

Nutrition plays a significant role in promoting health and preventing disease. Major nutritional concerns facing Canadians of all ages and walks of life are obesity and chronic diseases influenced by diet. This course will introduce the student to basic health and nutrition principles that promote healthy food choices and positive lifestyles. Diet modifications that may be required by individuals across the lifespan will be discussed.

EC2033 Working With Diversity

Students will explore and examine the many layers of diversity that surround individuals and identifiable groups in society and they will see how these many layers contribute to a rich, diverse Canadian cultural landscape. As part of this examination, students will have the opportunity to reflect on their personal attitudes, assumptions and views toward diverse population groups.

As a brief introduction, students will begin developing their understanding of diversity by identifying, discussing, and defining core terminology like privilege, cultural competence, and cultural safety, Students will enhance their knowledge and understanding of diversity by looking at origins of differences among various population groups in Canada and by looking at society’s attitudes associated with Canadian Regionalism, demographic trends, First Nations peoples, immigration, and various other established minority groups. Also, learners will become aware of government policies and influence on certain segments of Canadian society and its role in dealing with social inequalities. Finally, students will look at and reflect on the media’s role in perpetuating stereotypes and swaying personal views of diversity in Canada.

EC2083 Children with Exceptionalities

This course provides students with comprehensive introduction to children and youth who display various categories of exceptionality. Learners will be encouraged to view exceptionality from a biopsychosocial perspective and view interventions from a social systems theory perspective. This course is designed for a students who are studying exceptionalities for the first time. It is expected that such students require knowledge of the philosophies, practices, legislation and policies that determine the care, education, and support of children and youth with special needs. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the conceptual issues, research findings, evidence based practices relevant to children and youth with exceptionalities. This course emphasizes the concept of inclusion on a continuum and challenges students to critically analyze philosophies and practices in order to emphasize a child-first approach.

EC4016 Child Care Administration

This course is designed to introduce the student to the skills needed to plan, manage, lead and administer a Child Care Centre.

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

GN1443 Indigenous Culture and Awareness

This general education course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian Indigenous Nations’ history, sovereignty, land titles, cultural history and current critical issues. Topics addressed include the content of Indigenous rights, economic and social development, community and political processes, and business law and policies, justice & social services. Canadian Indigenous History and Relations is a general education course that has been incorporated into all programs at Northern College.

Semester 4
EC4003 ECE Fieldwork Placement

Students will be placed in three different child care centres or kindergarten classrooms over three five-week periods. These placements provide students with an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and gain practical experience in early childhood education. The placements will provide diverse opportunities for learning as well as personal growth Students will be required to complete placement with varied age groups including Infant/Toddler, Preschool and Kindergarten/School-age children. Alternate placement agencies will be made available for placement opportunities on an individual basis with prior approval. Out-of-town placements may become necessary based on enrolment numbers and would be arranged individually by each student with college providing final approval. The placement totals 600 hours.

EC4061 ECE Fieldwork Seminar

This course is a co-requisite of Fieldwork Placement. While on placement, students will attend seminars. This in-class experience provides the opportunity to critically analyze the experiences that are occurring in the field. Students begin to understand the delicate balance between what they have learned in the classroom (theory, skills) and the needs and requirements in the field. Self-care will be emphasized as students transition from the role of student to that of entry-level professional. The Fieldwork Seminar is 1 day per month.

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