Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership is a four-year George Brown College degree program that will prepare you to become a progressive leader in this complex and evolving sector.

Female Early Childhood Education student poses in classroom holding pen and notebook.


Program name
Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership
4 years (8 semesters)
Starting month
Honours Bachelor's Degree
Method of study

Year of Study

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Program Availability

Domestic students
Sept. 2018 Closed
Jan. 2019 N/A
May 2019 N/A
International students
Sept. 2018 Closed
Jan. 2019 N/A
May 2019 N/A

Full Description


Preparing Early Childhood Leaders

Are you passionate about working with children? Do you want to learn how to lead and manage an inclusive early childhood facility that will stimulate and nurture learning? The Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership is a four-year degree program that will prepare you to become a progressive leader in this complex and evolving sector.

We believe that to be a successful leader in this field, you need to have a deep understanding of both human development and teaching & learning. We’ll guide you through a comprehensive look at these subject as it pertains to early childhood education and practice.


As human development plays an ongoing and integral role in our lives, and in particular in a child’s early years, we will expose you to this important topic from a variety of perspectives including:

  • developmental psychology
  • population health
  • neurobiology
  • sociology
  • anthropology


You’ll also study teaching and learning through an early childhood lens. This will encompass a thorough overview of curriculum planning and design as this forms the foundation of early childhood leadership.

Prior to completing your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct research that will ultimately support your final thesis.

Your Field Study options

Field placement is offered in each year of the program with the longest being a 14-week full-time internship that takes place in year three. This internship may be local, elsewhere in Canada or in an international setting.

While on placement, students are expected to demonstrate their learning through exemplifying the leadership skills they have been taught in class.

To support student learning outcomes and ensure you have access to facilities that reflect the best practices we consider essential, we own and operate 12 child care centres that are located across the Greater Toronto Area. These lab schools expose you to the kinds of environments where you will eventually work and provide valuable services to the families and communities that they serve.


Program Standards and Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Analyze the interacting social and biological forces that collectively shape early brain development and set the stage for lifelong learning, behaviour and health.
  2. Respect families’ central role in child-rearing and early learning and the impact of family structures, community support systems, culture and socio-economic status on parenting.
  3. Lead the design and implementation of inclusive, effective curricula for young children, based upon a critical analysis of historical perspectives, observation, current research, and understandings of early human development.
  4. Develop inclusive early intervention programs that respond to children with identified special needs.
  5. Evaluate early childhood programs, engaging stakeholders in the process and addressing diverse needs of young children and families.
  6. Acquire self-knowledge, critical thinking skills and professional habits of mind essential to the practice and leadership of early childhood education.
  7. Apply research skills, including assessment of the research process, formulation of research questions and collection and interpretation of data, in a variety of research projects.
  8. Establish responsive and reciprocal relationships with children, families, colleagues and other stakeholders.
  9. Perform responsibilities in a manner consistent with ethical and professional codes of conduct; in compliance with legislative and legal requirements; and, within the defined scope of practice limitations.
  10. Advocate on behalf of children, families, colleagues and the broader community, promoting the principles of quality in early childhood programs.
  11. Apply the principles of human resources, financial and facilities management to the operations of an early childhood program.
  12. Collaborate with early childhood educators and other professionals in multi-disciplinary or cross-sectoral environments and across diverse domains of practice.
  13. Communicate in a professional manner in all verbal, non-verbal and written mediums.

Required Courses


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL1201Human Development: Foundations
ECL1203Observing, Recording and Assessing
ECL1204Interpersonal Communication
ECL1205Composition and Rhetoric
ECL1303Principles to Practice: Social and Physical Environments


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL1202Personal Wellness
ECL1301Human Development: The Early Years
ECL1302Wellness and the Young Child
ECL1306Field Seminar I
ECL1307Field Practicum I
ECL2203Curriculum Design for Early Learning


semester courses
CodeCourse Name
ELCL1304Foundations of Inquiry: Reflection and Critical Thinking
ECL2101Investigating Middle Childhood to Adulthood
ECL2102Applied Research Methods
ECL2103Inclusive Practice with Young Children
ECL2205Family Studies: Research and Applications
Liberal Arts Elective 


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL2104Curriculum Planning for Young Children
ECL2105Field Seminar II
ECL2106Field Practicum II
ECL2201Human Development: Fundamental Relationships
ECL2202History and Philosophy of Early Childhood Programs
ECL2204Organizational Structure, Behaviour and Governance


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3101Quality Assurance for Early Childhood Programs
ECL3102Leadership in Learning Organizations
ECL3103Leadership in a Technological World
Liberal Arts Electives (choose two)


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3201Human Development: Current Topics
ECL3202Building Healthy Communities: Advocacy and Leadership
ECL3205Internship Seminar
ECL4102Curriculum Leadership in Early Learning and Care
ECL4103Managing Projects as an Early Childhood Leader
Liberal Arts Elective


Third-year internship is a 14-week work experience in an early childhood program, a related child and family service, or a relevant government department. Internship may be local, elsewhere in Canada or in an international setting.


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL3203Early Childhood Program and System Delivery
ECL4111Research in Early Childhood Studies
ECL4105Field Seminar III
ECL4106Field Practicum III
Liberal Arts Electives (choose two)


semester courses
CodeCourse name
ECL4211Current Issues – Leadership for Quality (independent studies)
LHUM1215History of Social Policy in Canada
Liberal Arts Elective

Course revisions are currently taking place. Course offerings may change without notice.

Detailed course outlines

General Education Electives

Career Options

Graduates of this degree program will have the knowledge and practice base to influence pedagogy and curriculum. They will be prepared to move into supervisory, director and curriculum leadership positions in a full range of early childhood programs as their careers unfold or as they pursue further study.

This program prepares graduates for positions as Registered Early Childhood Educators, working in partnership with certified teachers in the Full-Day Early Learning programs that are replacing junior and senior kindergarten.

Your Career

Graduates may find work in a variety of early childhood settings, including:

  • child care centres
  • family drop-in programs
  • early intervention services
  • family support programs

Emerging Best Start Child and Family Centres will be integrated with existing early childhood programs and graduates will be well positioned to assume leadership positions within these centres.

Future Study Options

Previous graduates who wished to pursue further education have successfully gained admission to master's degree programs and/or the faculty of education at notable universities.

Ryerson University offers several post-graduate study opportunities for graduates of the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership degree program. View the complete list of relevant post-graduate study opportunities offered by RyersonOpen New Browser Window here.


$9,052.00 * † ‡

Additional Cost

* Amounts listed are the total of tuition, materials, student service and ancillary fees for the first two semesters of programs starting in fall 2017. Fees are subject to change for programs starting in fall 2018 and at later dates.

† Internship cost is in addition to fees.

‡ Students will be required to purchase books and other course materials.

International students: Visit the International Fees and Related Costs page for more information.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, including the required courses, and any other selection criteria outlined below.

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma** with six Grade 12 University (U) or University/College (M) courses, with a combined average of 65% or higher.
  • Grade 12 English (U) with a grade of 65 or higher.
  • Grade 11 Mathematics (M or U) OR Grade 11 Science (M or U) OR Grade 12 Mathematics (U) OR Grade 12 Science (M or U)
  • Mandatory Information session – Only applicants who receive a conditional offer will be required to attend an information session, as indicated in the offer letter. Other arrangements will be made for applicants who live outside the Greater Toronto Area and/or are unable to attend the information session.


Mature student status (19 years or older and no OSSD)

  • Grade 12 English (U) with a grade of 65% or higher
  • Grade 11 Mathematics (M or U) OR Grade 11 Science (M or U) OR Grade 12 Mathematics (U) OR Grade 12 Science (M or U)
  • English and Math/Science with a combined average higher than 65%
  • Postsecondary credits in English and Math/Science will also be considered (certain credits only)
  • Mandatory Information session – Only applicants who receive a conditional offer will be required to attend an information session, as indicated in the offer letter. Other arrangements will be made for applicants who live outside the Greater Toronto Area and/or are unable to attend the information session.

** There is no mature student testing in the required credits for degree programs. Mature applicants must have the English, Math and Science credits required. Information on where and how to upgrade can be found on the English, Math and Science upgrading pages.

English language proficiency required

George Brown College ESL Level 9; TOEFL 84 overall and 21 in each skill band (Online); IELTS 6.5 overall and 6.0 in each skill band; MELAB 85; CAEL overall 70 (writing 60)

Proficiency in English communications is necessary for success in this program. Please visit georgebrown.ca/englishproficiency for more details.

Course Exemptions

College or university credits may qualify you for course exemptions. Please visit georgebrown.ca/transferguide for more information.

International Students

Visit the International Admissions page for more information.

George Brown has been granted a consent by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development to offer this applied degree for a 7–year term starting August 29, 2017. The college shall ensure that all students admitted to the above-named program during the period of consent will have the opportunity to complete the program within a reasonable time frame. An application for renewal of the consent has been submitted and the current consent remains in effect until a decision on the renewal application is made.

Special Requirements

Field placement is a mandatory and complex component of the program. Should accommodation issues arise, an Accessible Learning Consultant may be called upon to assist the applicant in determining whether she/he can meet the requirements necessary for safe caregiving for young children.

In compliance with requests from our student placement partners and requirements from Public Health and Ontario legislation, all students in this program must have completed the following prior to beginning field placement:

  • Standard First Aid with CPR level C course
  • Police Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Medical Clearance

Students who are unable to provide completed field clearance documents may be unable to complete their field placement and, therefore, be unable to complete the program.

For more information on the ECE Field Placement requirements, please email ece@georgebrown.ca

Success Stories

“Through the Toys or Tools project, our team of current and former students have gained our first crucial experiences in academic projects. We developed critical thinking skills and sharpened our ability to communicate effectively through written and verbal means.”

Click here to learn more about the Toys or Tools applied research project.

Emma Mogyorodi (Graduate 2017, Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership)

“Being part of the Toys or Tools project enabled our team to develop many practical research skills, such as collecting and coding data, conducting interviews, and developing strategies to overcome challenges. These experiences have had a tremendous impact on our confidence, growth, and success not only in relation to this project, but also in our continued academic and professional pursuits.”

Click here to learn more about the Toys or Tools applied research project.

Nicola Maguire (Graduate, 2016, Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership)

Contact Us

School of Early Childhood

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 2310

Email: ece@georgebrown.ca

Our office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information about George Brown College, you may also call the Contact Centre at 416-415-2000 (TTY 1-877-515-5559) or long distance 1-800-265-2002.

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