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Early Childhood Studies

Early Childhood Studies

“UofGH feels safe and like I belong. I was always excited to come on campus: staff and professors were kind and supportive, my classmates were always helpful and fun to be around.”

Learn about Linda

Earn 2 Credentials
from the University of Guelph
from Humber

What are the possibilities for me?

Options include...

  • Play Therapist
  • Early Interventionist
  • Speech & Language Pathologist
  • Resource Consultant
  • Autism Therapist (IBI/ABA)
  • Registered Early Childhood Educator
  • Early Learning & Care Supervisor/Director/Owner
  • Child & Family Therapist
  • Children’s Rights Advocate
  • Family Support Supervisor
  • Certified Teacher
  • Research & Policy Analyst

Graduate school and further education

  • Master of Education
  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Master of Science in Child Life & Pediatric Psychosocial Care
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Arts in Child Study & Education
  • Bachelor of Nursing

Note: Some careers and entry into further education may require additional study.

If you don't see your career goal listed here - talk to us! There are many more options.

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What will I learn?

Become a professional who helps children develop to the best of their ability.

Study the science of early childhood development which strives to understand the holistic growth of children and provide a foundation for effective education, parenting and child welfare practices, while preparing for and shaping children’s futures in an evolving world.

This is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses the physical, cognitive, emotional and social growth of children from birth to eight years of age. It includes various theories and research from psychology, neuroscience, education, futures and health sciences.

1st year: Introduces you to the domains of child development and theories and foundations of early childhood.

2nd year: Learn the basics of human anatomy and physiology; how to create curriculum; observation and research skills; dynamics of relationships; and how biases impact our interactions with children and families.

3rd year: Communication with children and families is a focus for your third year.

New! Areas of emphasis (AOEs)
In your third year, you have the option to focus your studies through one of three areas of emphasis:

Children's Futures

  • Ethics & Privacy with Children
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Designing for the Future

Infant & Child Mental Health

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Social Epigenetics
  • Grief & Loss

Pathway to Child Life

  • Development in Adolescence
  • Introduction to Child Life
  • Grief & Loss

If you choose not to do an AOE, then you select three from the bulleted specialized electives above.

4th year: Your fourth year emphasizes professional skills such as leadership, collaboration, and administration. You also continue with your specialized AOE courses.

Take a journey of self-discovery, find your own voice, have strong leadership and develop a comprehensive set of abilities to deal with diverse circumstances in an empathetic manner.

Understand the world of the child, including the impact of love, connection and technology in children’s lives. Utilize empathy, compassion, creativity and play to find your way to change the world.

What courses can I take?

First-year courses

Child drawing with a marker
  • Early & Middle Childhood Development
  • Field Practicum 1
  • Foundational Theories & Practice
  • General electives
  • Health & Safety in Early Childhood Settings
  • Infant & Toddler Development
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Principles of Sociology
  • The Science of Play

Up to 800+ hours of workplace experience

0 hrs 1st year

Winter:Job shadowing will help introduce you to early learning and care settings.

0 hrs 2nd year

Winter:Experience an early learning and care setting.

0 hrs3rd year

Fall/Winter:Participate in a placement related to inclusion and special needs. Gain knowledge in community-based organizations.

0 hrs 4th year

Fall:Select a setting tailored to your career aspirations and knowledge base. You could choose to end your placement hours at this point (608 hours) and continue with a research thesis.

0 hrs 4th year

Winter:Continue in your placement.


Borrow from our extensive collection of educational and therapeutic materials and toys in the Early Childhood Studies Resource Room to enhance your placements. Examples include Paro the therapeutic seal pup (robot) and virtual reality headsets. Learn more about Paro!

Past practicum placements include:

  • Children’s mental health centres
  • Children's advocacy
  • Community-based family organizations
  • Early intervention and prevention programs
  • Inclusive early learning and care centres
  • Hospital child life units
  • Primary school classrooms
  • Therapeutic environments

Note: You will be required to complete a Vulnerable Sector Screening, documentation of immunization and a First Aid/CPR certificate prior to placement.


Profs in the industry

You are taught by professionals currently working in their field. They will tell you what they’re experiencing in the workplace in real time.

Hands-on exploration

You will get hands-on experience through a variety of in-class activities and topics including:

  • STEM with aspects of play and curriculum development
  • Literacy – exploration of storytelling methodologies, the science behind the acquisition of literacy and pre-literacy skills
  • Math – embracing the teaching of mathematical concepts through play and exploration
  • Culture – exploring the values of play and how children play in Canada and throughout the world
  • Music and movement – embracing music as a form of expression for children and discovering how to use movement in early learning settings
  • Art – developing an appreciation of the communication that happens through children’s artistic expressions
  • Sensory experiences – experiment with a wide variety of sensory experiences that can be used with infants and young children
  • Technology – integrate ethical and effective technology use into curriculum programming

Interactive classroom

See first-hand how learning environments can support diversity and inclusion for children with a range of abilities when you use our interactive classroom full of SmartBoards, integrative learning technologies and kinesthetic learning modalities including AR/VR.

Safe spaces

Once you experience, it you’ll recognize it. UofGH creates a tremendous sense of safety through the support of program heads, professors and staff. Feel comfortable to share your voice and care for your mental health.

Learn outside of class

Community outreach & leadership

Volunteer with your peers to support important social causes or community projects. Students have raised funds for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, served meals to families at Ronald McDonald House, and participated in campaigns for initiatives such as World Down Syndrome Day.

Tribute to youth lost at residential schools

Support professional excellence

Be part of the annual Becoming Leaders of Open Mentorship (BLOOM) Gala. Help recognize the impact and leadership of our students, instructors and community leaders for the difference they're making in the lives of children and families. Nominations are student driven.

professors speaking at event


Societies are related to our seven academic programs and offer activities outside of class. They can help you develop leadership skills, gain professional experience and network. Look into the ECS Society’s many volunteer activities and check out our Clubs and Societies page.

ECS card making

Extra! Extra!

UofGH offers more extracurriculars for students in all programs. Learn more on our Extra! Extra! page.

Travel and learn with Study Tours (10 days) and Study Elsewhere (one semester). Visit our Global Learning Opportunities page for details!

photo abroad from singapore by Dylan Cunanan

“UofGH has truly prepared me with all the necessary skills to become the best teacher I can be. I have gained so much knowledge about working in the field from my 800 hours of workplace experience. I have never been more excited and prepared for my future!”

Learn About Cooper

After graduation (unique opportunities)

Heading to law school

Graduate ready for Canadian law school or take advantage of our partnerships in England. Earn a senior status law degree (LLB) with The City Law School, City, University of London   in just two years without an LSAT requirement, or a Master of Law (LLM) through distance learning with the University of London   in one year (full-time) or up to five years (part-time). Both with reduced tuition.

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A step ahead

After graduation, take advantage of our partnership for a Master of Science degree with the University of Guelph (in Guelph, Ontario) MSc in Management. Speak with your Academic Advisor for more information.