early childhood education

Early Childhood Education


Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma (4 course program)




One year (4 consecutive terms)


Graduate Program Administrator:
Sylvia Parks

Academic Coordinator:
Cynthia Prasow

Program Overview

In the literature, Early Childhood Education (ECE) is defined to include children 0-8 years. The goals for students in Early Childhood are to deeply and creatively understand what it is to teach young children and to provide leadership and advocacy for young children as learners and citizens in our world.

Early childhood education is grounded in both historical and contemporary influences in the field. It is based on an image and belief that the child is capable, curious, imaginative and an active co-constructor of meaning. Consequently, the environment for children needs to support varied and rich opportunities for questioning, conversation, exploration and imaginative play.

Program Details

Courses in this program are offered fully online. Courses are held in both an asynchronous environment (D2L) and a synchronous (real-time) environment (Zoom) which allows instructors to virtually meet and talk with students and experience a live exchange of ideas, hear class presentations and do group work with access to a whiteboard. For additional information regarding online delivery, refer to the Online Delivery eLearn website.

The focus for students in the Early Childhood Education topic will be on creating rich and complex learning environments that engage the children in holistic and integrative approaches to learning and are responsive to children’s diverse ways of creating, expressing and understanding their world.

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

The University of Calgary offers multiple ways to meet the cost of your education. Please refer to the Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries page to learn more about options available to students. For additional information, please contact Student Financial Support.

Program Schedule & Course Descriptions

  • Program begins each Summer term (refer to the Academic Schedule for specific dates)
  • Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L
  • 3 units per course

Term 1 - Summer

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This course will critically and creatively explore issues and questions related to images of children and to children's play and learning by examining play through philosophical, historical, intercultural, and postmodern lenses. Through an examination of play literature and by engaging in the practice of interpreting teachers' own experiences in schools and the experiences of the children that they teach, class participants will develop an ethical understanding of how these ideas live in early childhood classrooms and outdoor play spaces.

Registration info:
EDER 689.65 L01 (50678)

Term 2 - Fall

Designing Learning for Early Childhood Education

Students will critically examine the role of creating intentional, aesthetic and complex indoor and outdoor environments to support children’s thinking and imagination that are based on an image of the child as an active protagonist of their learning. In this course, students will read, try new ideas out in their classroom, observe and document the children’s learning and reactions, and discuss what they have seen.

Registration info:
EDER 689.69 L01 (73955)

Term 3 - Winter

Knowing, Learning and Teaching in the Early Years

Through focused study and experiences linked to teaching young children and the exploration of powerful formative assessment, students will explore how children come to know and learn in all areas of the early childhood curriculum. 

Registration info:
EDER 689.71 L01 (14001)

Term 4 - Spring

Current Issues in Early Childhood Education

Investigating Canadian and international perspectives, this course provides educators with opportunities and space to construct alternative discourses around the role of early childhood education and to position themselves within the field and society.

Registration info:
EDER 689.84 L01