An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) reading to a group of young children in a daycare centre

Shape young minds with a career as an early childhood educator (ECE)

Early Childhood Education Ontario College Diploma program

Enjoy engaging faculty. Experience exciting, project-based classes. Choose a variety of hands-on experiences in the ECE field.

Program code ECED
Duration 2 Years
Credential Ontario College Diploma
Program Delivery Full-time +
Program delivery method(s) In person What does this mean?

Program information

Program description

Within this program’s unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, students prepare to work with children (birth to 12 years old) and their families. Students learn how to support children’s holistic development and facilitate their adaptation to the challenges of everyday life. Students acquire the skills to be responsive caregivers while respecting diversity and the rights of children and families. They discover the multifaceted benefits of play-based learning through experiential courses that focus on outdoor learning, creative expression, and science and technology. Emphasis is placed on partnerships with families, other professionals, and community programs, as these form the foundation of working in the field of early learning and care. This approach to learning reflects the view that children are curious, capable and skilled and grow up in families with diverse social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Through two field placements, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and transfer their skills as they engage with children and adults in early years learning settings within the community. Students develop a range of abilities and best practices crucial for success in the various learning environments they may find employment in within the field of early childhood education. 

Intake information

Start dateCampus
Fall 2024 Orangeville, Orillia, Owen Sound
Winter 2025 Orillia
Summer 2025 Orillia

Tuition and fees

Work-integrated learning

What are the admission requirements for the Early Childhood Education program?

Early Childhood Education admission requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or mature student status
  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:


Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit for Prior Learning website for details:

Criminal Reference/Vulnerable Sector Check

Placement agencies require an up-to-date clear criminal reference check and vulnerable sector check prior to going out on placement. Students should obtain their criminal reference three months prior to placement; checks conducted earlier may not be considered current. As some jurisdictions require longer lead-time for processing, please check with the program coordinator to ensure you allow for sufficient turn-around time. It is the student’s responsibility to provide the completed document prior to placement start.

NOTE: A record of criminal offences, for which a pardon has not been granted, may prevent students from completing their placements, thereby affecting their ability to graduate.

Additional information

Applicants may be asked to provide community agencies with proof of completion of Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certification as well as an up-to-date immunization record with a two-step TB test in some circumstances to proceed with field placement. Students are required to review agency requirements provided by the field placement office. Proof of completion of the Ontario Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Awareness training must also be provided before proceeding on field placement. 

It is strongly recommended that students accepted into the ECE program have volunteer or past work experience in a licensed childcare setting. This experience orients and prepares the student for their academic work in the ECE program.

What career paths can I take as an early childhood educator?

Your Early Childhood Education diploma gives you many career opportunities

Graduates are qualified to apply to become a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) with the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Graduates may work in a variety of early learning settings, including licensed childcare programs, before-and-after school care, family home child care, early years resource centers, children’s mental health agencies, private home childcare, kindergarten programs, and recreation programs, as well as school readiness and early intervention programs.

Growth is also occurring in the area of contractual employment and self-employment.

Why study Early Childhood Education at Georgian?

At Georgian, you will enjoy moderate class sizes with your peers where the professors will get to know you and are committed to your success.

Our curriculum is current, responsive to the developing changes in the field, and designed to provide you with the needed hands-on practise to develop the confidence and expertise you need to work with young children and their families.

Georgian’s ECE program has several articulation agreements with a number of university programs offering many desirable options for our graduates.

Flex MORE. Study Early Childhood Education part-time

Benefits of studying part-time:

  • Register on a course-by-course basis, paying as you go!
  • MORE choices. We are always adding more flexible delivery programs and courses.

What courses are included in the Early Childhood Education diploma program?

Course overview

21 Program Courses
2 Communications Courses
3 General Education Courses
2 Field Placements

Program-specific courses

Semester 1 courses are listed below. For a full list of courses in the program including course descriptions, view the Early Childhood Education program outline.

  • ECED 1012 – Child Development (birth to 12 years)
  • ECED 1018 – Foundations in ECE
  • ECED 1033 – Supporting Inclusive Play Experiences
  • ECED 1039 – Creative Expression
  • ECED 1040 – Developing Partnerships with Families
  • ECED 1041 – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Outdoor Learning
  • Select 1 course from the communications list during registration.
  • Select 1 course from the general education list during registration.

Your course delivery method(s)

In person

This program is delivered fully in person and requires you to attend campus.

Please note, delivery methods are based on planning for the upcoming semester and are subject to change.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program about and why should I come to Georgian?Georgian College Chevron

Early Childhood Education is an exciting program that presents you with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to work with children from the ages of birth to 12 years of age and their families.

At Georgian, you will enjoy moderate class sizes with your peers where the professors will get to know you and are committed to your success. Our curriculum is current, responsive to the developing changes in the field, and designed to provide you with the needed hands-on practice to develop the confidence and expertise you need to work with young children and their families. Your role, the importance of play and how children develop is the basis of this program.

What is the format of the ECE program?Georgian College Chevron

The Early Childhood Education program is offered full-time at both Orillia and Owen Sound campuses. The program takes place over four semesters. Each semester is 14 weeks of class in length with a reading week in the middle; total of 15 weeks. The first semester focuses on academic courses while the second and third semesters include opportunities to work with children directly. The fourth semester involves classes and a unique placement that offers a variety of placement settings for students.

  • Semester one: Classes Monday through Friday
  • Semester two: Four days of class, one day of placement per week
  • Semester three and four: Three days of class, two days of placement per week
What is the ECE program schedule?Georgian College Chevron

Once you are registered, you will choose your timetable online for each semester. The Office of the Registrar will send you dates and times when registration is open. Class times can vary throughout each semester. Classes could be scheduled anywhere from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Adjustments to your timetable can be made during the ‘add/drop’ period. Please see important dates for deadlines. Students spend eight hours each day they are on placement with their host agency. The schedule is demanding. Students are encouraged to prepare for the requirements of this schedule when planning employment.

What are the entrance requirements?Georgian College Chevron

See admission requirements for the Early Childhood Education program. You may also contact the Student Services department for more details to complete the application process. Working with children and families requires professionals with strong written and interpersonal skills.

What does the placement component look like and what are some of the experiences?Georgian College Chevron

Students engage in field placement experiences across three semesters of the program. They are placed in community settings (for example, child care centres, schools and community agencies) depending on the requirements of the course. Placement is balanced to provide the students with access to working with children across the age span of birth to 12 years. This results in a graduate with a broad range of experience to offer future employers.

How is placement set up?Georgian College Chevron

Field placements are organized in co-operation with the college, with our field placement officers. We encourage you to request placements in the town or city in which you choose to live. This benefits you as you can establish professional connections in your community for future employment. This depends on your proximity to campus, as you will attend classes during the time you are on placement.

What do I need to have when I arrive on campus to prepare for placement registration in the second semester?Georgian College Chevron

Please see the requirements for placement. You must have your Standard First Aid with CPR to a level C or HCP. It is important to note that the immunizations include a two-step TB (tuberculosis) test, which takes up to four visits to the doctor. Therefore, we highly recommend that you fully complete the forms sent to you by the college prior to entry in first semester.

You also must have a current Vulnerable Sector Police Check (this should be obtained before Nov. 30)Check with your local police or OPP detachment, you may need a letter from the college, so check requirements in your local area. Please note: Vulnerable Sector Police Checks could take six to 14 weeks to obtain depending on the current demand.

High school co-op, volunteer or paid work experience in a licensed child care setting assists in preparing a student for placement.

Please note: If you are unable to present these requirements prior to registration for the next semester, you will be unable to proceed to this semester and will have to wait to continue your education. Registration occurs prior to the start of the next semester.

Am I eligible for professional registration upon graduation?Georgian College Chevron

Earning a diploma in Early Childhood Education provides you with the educational requirements to apply to the College of Early Childhood Educators for registration following your graduation. This is an important process for all professionals in the field. Further information about registration and the process can be found on the College of Early Childhood Educators website.

What sorts of jobs are available in the ECE field?Georgian College Chevron

Graduates are hired in child care centres, school boards in the full-day early learning kindergarten classrooms or as educational assistants, community services for children and families, and unique experiences on cruise ships, recreation programs or businesses linked to ECE.

What are the articulation agreement and the process to follow in order to be a primary school teacher?Georgian College Chevron

Georgian’s ECE program has several articulation agreements with a number of university programs offering many desirable options for our graduates. Current agreements exist with the following universities: Athabasca, Nipissing, Ryerson, Griffith, New Brunswick, Laurier, Brock, and Davenport. Get more information.

Can I take ECE and still work?Georgian College Chevron

Working toward your educational goals on a full-time basis requires dedication and commitment. Full-time students will be required to manage a heavy course load and may find it challenging to schedule part-time employment.

For those students who are currently working full-time in the ECE field and need to complete their diploma, we offer the Child Development Practitioner Apprenticeship delivery as a first step as well as part-time classes at the Barrie Campus. There are specific requirements for entry which are available on the Ministry of Education website or through the local apprenticeship branch. The program consists of an in-school portion concurrently with on-the-job work experience. The in-school portion is offered in a variety of ways, depending on the community needs. The on-the-job experience consists of 4,000 to 6,000 hours of paid work experience. Following completion of this apprenticeship program, students may continue the studies to achieve an ECE diploma by completing Georgian’s bridge program.

What distance education offerings are available at Georgian?Georgian College Chevron

The ECE program is currently preparing courses for online delivery, however at this time we have no distance education offerings specific to the core ECE. curriculum. ECE courses are offered through Part-time Studies in each semester at a number of Georgian College campuses. A few equivalent courses are offered through OntarioLearn.

Do you have questions about Early Childhood Education? Contact us!

Thinking about applying to Georgian?

Contact our student recruitment team to explore your study options.

Already applied to Georgian?

Connect with the Office of the Registrar for admissions-related questions.

Are you an international student?

Contact our international recruitment team to learn more about studying at Georgian. 

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