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4 Semesters (2 Years)
Credential Awarded
Ontario College Diploma
Early Childhood Education

About the Program

Seneca offers two lab schools, which are model child care centres that provide you with opportunities for observation and programming. In this two-year diploma program, you will learn about the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of children. You will learn how to develop and execute programming in order to optimize the individual development of each child. Your studies would include an overview of relevant communications theory and philosophy, child development theory, application and practice for children ranging from infancy to school aged as well as children with special needs. If you choose to study in the summer, you will have the option to earn your Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma in four semesters, either over two years or 16 months. Every week you will spend three days in class and the other two at your field placement.

To practice in Ontario as an Early Childhood Educator or a Registered Early Childhood Educator, graduates must apply for registration with the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE). Graduates of this program will meet the education requirement for registration.

Note: If you are currently working in child care and would like to work towards your certificate of apprenticeship and ECE diploma at Seneca, please contact your local Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Apprenticeship Office:

  • Toronto 416.326.5800
  • Pickering 905.837.7721
  • Mississauga 905.279.7333

Work Experience

Field Placement

Seneca's two lab schools are model child care centres that provide you with opportunities for observation and programming. Field placement is central to the learning experience, so you will be placed in the field for two days each week.

Your Career

As a graduate of this program, you may pursue future career options within:

  • Child care centres

  • Family resource programs

  • Settlement centres 

  • EarlyON centres

  • After-school programs

  • Nursery schools

  • Parent co-operative centres 

  • Private home child care

  • Centres for children with special needs

  • Kindergarten in the elementary school system

Related Careers


Throughout this program you will develop the following skills:

  • Program planning designed to optimize the individual development of young children
  • Comprehension and application of child development theory 
  • Observational skills


Upon graduation you will qualify to join the following affiliations and associations:

  • Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO)

  • The Canadian Association for Young Children (CAYC)

  • Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) 

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)