Early Childhood Leadership (ECL) program takes students deeper into the field

Early Childhood Program

Students with a passion for, and an existing diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE), have an option to take their studies to the next level. George Brown offers a program that allows post-diploma students the opportunity to obtain a degree in just two year. This condensed version of our four-year degree recognizes the foundation developed in the previous ECE credential and builds on it. The program includes core components of the full-time program including degree-level curriculum, a research component, an extensive field education placement opportunity and the credential is fully accredited and recognized by graduate schools.

“With the early childhood leadership degree program, you're provided with more of a critical lens in how you look at early-years education and policy,” says Sophia Mohamed, a student in her final year of the degree. She entered the Early Childhood Education field after completing a bachelor’s degree at Queen's University in psychology and public health.

Inspiration for further study

Inspired by her third-year policy course in the program, Mohamed did her internship with the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO), where she did policy research for an advocacy campaign called “Professional Pay and Decent Work.” Her placement at the organization has inspired her to pursue graduate studies with a focus on policy. “I totally fell in love with the idea of policy implementation, critical analysis, the childcare movement and the professionalization of the sector,” she says.

Elaine Winick, professor in the program and internship coordinator for the program, says the standout features of a 420-hour internship and a major research project help the students to take their learning to a new level. The program also boosts opportunity for leadership. “The degree scaffolds on the learning they do in the first years of the program in order to develop leadership skills,” says Winick.

Embracing leadership

Veroushka Coronel, an early childhood educator with over 18 years of experience working in George Brown’s lab schools, saw the ECL program as an opportunity to boost her research profile. A part-time student who also works in the child care centre at George Brown’s Casa Loma campus, Coronel’s internship at the University of Toronto involved working on a research project on cognitive instruction as it relates to toddlers. The only early childhood educator on the research project, she acted as a liaison to recruit educators and ECE centre directors to the project. She also created a recruitment video (still in use) and has conducted workshops on cognitive sensitivity training for educators in her region.

Coronel says the ECL degree has helped to increase her confidence and authority. “I see myself more as a leader in taking risks. Just creating that professional identity, making it stronger and really seeing myself in the future as an advocate.”