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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

  • Only original or certified copies of academic records will be accepted. In order for transcripts to be considered official, they must bear an original seal/stamp and/or official signature from an appropriate signatory. We do not accept photocopies or photos as this will make them unofficial as the school seal will not show.
  • Official transcripts must be sent by the issuing institution via email or an official credit service such as MyCreds™ – a secure digital credential platform that allows you to access and share the documents from anywhere in the world and at any time.
  • You can learn more about MyCreds™, including privacy and security, at MyCreds™.ca
  • For more information on admissions click here.

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 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.

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

  • Create learning contexts to enable, build and maintain caring, responsive relationships in partnerships with children, families and communities that value and respect social, cultural and linguistic diversity including Indigenous peoples’ worldviews and Francophone identity.
  • Co-create, facilitate and reflect upon inquiry and play-based early years and child care programs and pedagogical approaches to support children’s learning, holistic development and well-being following children’s capabilities, interests, ideas and experiences.
  • Co-design and maintain inclusive early learning environments to value and support equitable, accessible and meaningful learning opportunities for all children, their families and communities in a range of early years and child care settings.
  • Collaborate with children, families, colleagues, agencies and community partners to create, maintain, evaluate and promote safe and healthy early learning environments to support independence, reasonable risk-taking and healthy development and well-being.
  • Use observation strategies to identify children’s strengths and challenges and to ascertain when children and families might benefit from additional support or community resources.
  • Use professional communication in interactions with children, families, colleagues, employers, the regulatory body, government authorities and children’s service agencies to meet legal and ethical standards of the early years sector.
  • Act in accordance with relevant legislation, regulations, College of Early Childhood Educators Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, agency policies and procedures and principles of evidence-informed practice and reflect upon their impact on one’s own role in early years and child care settings.
  • Identify, report and document when a child is in a situation of perceived risk for, or actual neglect or abuse, in accordance with legislation, the College of Early Childhood Educators Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, policies and procedures.
  • Create and engage in partnerships with families, communities, colleagues, inter-disciplinary professionals, authorities and child service agencies to advocate for quality early years and child care programs and services.
  • Engage in reflective practice and continuous professional learning in accordance with principles of lifelong learning, evidence-informed practices in the early years sector and requirements of the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Career Options

Potential career and industry options may include:

  • Early childhood educator
  • Early learning and care supervisor
  • Childcare centres
  • Ontario Early Years Centres
  • Municipal parent/child drop-in programs (arts and fitness)
  • Montessori schools
  • Private home childcare settings
  • School boards (full-day kindergarten classroom)
  • 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

Related Credentials and Courses

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



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
CHLD 2380Child Development IMonthly Intake Online
CHLD 2380Child Development IOnline
CHLD 3383Child Development IIOnline
COMM 1884Communication FoundationsDistance Education
CURR 1581Curriculum Development I - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
CURR 2581Curriculum Development II - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
CURR 3581Curriculum Development III - Early Childhood EducationDistance Education
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
ECE 2382Ethics and Professional PracticeDistance Education
CHLD 3382Exceptionalities Introduction - Early Childhood EducationOnline
CHLD 1382Guidance of The Young ChildMonthly Intake Online
CHLD 1382Guidance of The Young ChildOnline
CCA 1585Management Leadership SkillsOnline
CHLD 1383Observing The Young ChildDistance Education
ECE 3381Partnership with FamiliesOnline
HLTH 2385Personal and Professional WellnessDistance Education
ECE 4380Philosophies of Early Childhood EducationOnline
CHLD 3380Prevention & Identification of Child AbuseDistance Education
HLTH 1385Wellness For ChildrenOnline
HLTH 1385Wellness For ChildrenMonthly Intake Online