This Ontario College Graduate Certificate combines theoretical and practical knowledge so graduates can expertly support infants, children and their families. Increasingly in our society we are aware that the mental health of infants and young children impacts their overall well-being long into adulthood. It?s important to know how to positively support mental health and address mental health concerns as early as possible in our childrens? lives.

The IMH Graduate Certificate program is designed for front line service providers or recent graduates working in the following fields: early childhood education, child and youth services, health care, community support programs, social service work, as well as recreational therapy and counselling. However, childrens? mental health is important to us all, and students coming from other fields of work and study are welcome as long as they meet the entry requirements.

Working with experienced educators who are themselves on the front lines, students are exposed to the current practical application of scientific research in the field of infant mental health. They learn about human development, family dynamics and relationships, crisis intervention, risk and protective factors for mental and emotional well-being, supportive programming options, as well as preventative measures and early intervention approaches and techniques.

Note: There is a mandatory field placement in this program. Students will be required to obtain a Vulnerable Sector Police Check and be up-to-date in medical immunizations and standard First Aid and CPR.

Career Opportunities

This Ontario Graduate Certificate in infant and children?s mental health will increase knowledge and skill for those wanting to work with vulnerable young children and their families. Depending on your prior diploma training, you will be further qualified to work in settings such as child protection agencies, early intervention teams, hospitals and clinics, family support agencies, child welfare, education, and settlement programs.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have either an Ontario university or college degree, three-year college diploma, or two-year college diploma plus six months of work experience in a field related to early childhood development.

To apply please send proof of your credential (copy of transcripts or copy of diploma received) via email to the current Academic Program Manager, Karen Skeaff, at Karen.Skeaff@senecacollege.ca.

Applicants with a two-year college diploma should include documentation of their employment experience in the form of a resume or statement of employment.

Individuals with relevant credentials from outside of Ontario and who have had those credentials translated/evaluated by an independent service are welcome to submit an application.

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Module 1

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

This is an introductory course about how the research and practice of infant and early mental health has evolved. Throughout the course, students will explore the factors that promote and derail early mental health and the connection between early mental health and later mental and physical health outcomes. A basic introduction on the science of early mental health including brain development will be explored. Students will explore the history and evolution of the mental health system in Canada, gaining a focus on contemporary mental health and illness in Canada with an understanding of the difference between infant and early mental health and later mental and physical health outcomes. A global perspective will be embedded into all discussions.

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Dynamics of the Family

This course will address family dynamics from a systematic and developmental viewpoint. Students will become familiar with systems and ecological theory, family structures and development, families in transition, history and cultural diversity. This will support the student's personal and professional awareness of the potential impact of family history and culture on future relationships. As systems are explored, students reflect on how they can create a more responsive and inclusive response to challenges families with young children may experience. How does a young child's social history within the family and the community influence their development, in particular early mental health? How does a caregiver's mental health influence a young child's development? How do these early and pivotal relationships promote or derail physical and mental health in the short and the long term? Such questions will be discussed and answered through presentations, group discussions and case study.

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Emotional Well Being in Young Children


EAD410 Attachment in Infancy and Early Childhood

Emotional well being in infancy and early childhood is reflected in key developmental capacities and the kind of primary relationships present in the lives of children from birth through 5. At the core is the ability to: experience a range of feelings about self and others; experience both positive and negative emotions; control and regulate emotions in culturally appropriate ways; and to develop self-confidence and self-worth. The pathway to these capacities is subject to complex transactions of genetic, biological and psychosocial processes that either hinder or support adaptation at particular points in a child's development. Students will examine the issue of risk and protective factors and resiliency in child development. This is critical to practitioners who must be able to recognize symptoms of emotional issues, determine all possible causes, and design protective strategies within their scope of practice, referring to other professionals as appropriate.

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Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit (Advanced Standing)

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Degree and Credit Transfer Office.


When you meet all program requirements and become eligible for a certificate, diploma or degree, you must inform the Registrar by completing a Graduation Application form, and paying the graduation and alumni fee. Forms are available at the Registration Office or can be downloaded from the convocation website below. Certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees are issued twice a year in the Fall (October) and Spring (June). Graduation Application forms must be received no later than July 31 (for Fall Convocation), November 30/ March 31 (for Spring Convocation). Convocation information is mailed out approximately six weeks prior to the ceremony date.

For further information, please contact the Convocation Office at the Markham Campus at 416-491-5050 ext. 77461 or visit Convocation website.

Program Contacts

Contact us via this form or using the phone number(s) below it.

Dedra Profitt
Program Assistant
416-491-5050 ext.22826

Karen Skeaff
Academic Program Manager
416-491-5050 ext.26626