Early Childhood Studies

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Yeates School of Graduate Studies

Early Childhood Studies Program (ECS)

Curriculum and Courses

Graduate students begin their studies in September or the fall term.  Students are mentored by a faculty advisor or supervisor and advised on a program of study towards completion of the degree requirements. 

The current list of elective courses is expanded as enrolment increase; as the program develops, and new faculty or adjunct faculty becomes involved with the program. Not all elective courses are offered in a given year.

First Offered Fall 2006

Master's Research Paper*
CS8901  Research Methods in ECS 1
CS8902  Curriculum Design 1
CS8903  Families and Equity 1
CS8904  Theoretical Frameworks:  ECS 1
Three elective credits 3
* Students may apply to substitute three courses for the Master's Research Paper

CS8921  Elements of Statistics 1
CS8922  Inclusion: Educational Change 1
CS8923  Social Justice in Education 1
CS8924  Inclusion: Issues in Assessment 1
CS8925  Multiage Groupings in ECS 1
CS8926  Risk and Resilence: Child/Family 1
CS8927  Social/Political Contexts for ECS 1
CS8928  Transformative Literacy 1
CS8929  Dual Language Learning 1
CS8930  Social Research with Children 1
CS8931  Children and Canadian Policies 1
CS8932  Children, Technology and Play 1
CS8933  Directed Studies in ECS 1
CS8934  Special Topics in ECS 1
CS8935  Human Services Evaluation 1
CS8936  Children's Rights 1
CS8937  Queering Education 1
CS8938  Cross-cultural Development 1
CS8939  Re-conceptualizing ECE 1
CS8940  Indigenous Early Learning 1
IS8921  Equity for Newcomers:  Schools 1
IS8934  Multicultural Cities - Planning Policy 1
* Not all elective courses will be offered in a given year.  The current list is expanded as enrolments increase, the program develops, and new faculty or adjunct faculty becomes involved with the program.


Master's Research Paper
Students will conduct specialized research on a topic of their choice and produce a scholarly paper, based on primary and/or secondary sources, addressing an early childhood topic from any disciplinary perspective. Students will be required to submit a proposal for faculty approval identifying their topic, its significance for early childhood studies, sources, and methodology. The research paper will be evaluated by a three-person committee and will require an oral defence examination. The Master’s Research Paper is a "Milestone." Pass/Fail

CS8901 Research Methods in ECS
In this course, students will learn the qualitative and quantitative methods that are key to research in this field. They will become skilled in evaluating current research, and, by the end of the course, they will have developed a full proposal for their required research paper. 1 Credit.

CS8902 Curriculum Design in a Changing Society
This course will address the many possible adaptations of curriculum that facilitate the successful inclusion of students who speak languages other than English and children with an identified special need. It will discuss traditional non-inclusive practices and the obstacles to be overcome in order to move curricula to a more supportive and successful inclusion of children with diverse needs. 1 Credit

CS8903 Families and Equity
This course investigates the institutional processes that routinely disadvantage certain populations especially migrants and those whose first language is not English. A main focus is on how educators, social workers, and other professionals can reach out to families and establish positive environments. Approaches to equity are explored from two perspectives: research and theory on social dominance and recent attempts to develop partnerships with families which respect their values and draw upon their assets and strengths. 1 Credit

CS8904 Theoretical Frameworks: ECS
In this course students will become familiar with some of the major conceptual frameworks employed in the study of early childhood. Theories drawn from psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine/science, economics, critical studies, women's studies, cultural studies, and equity studies will be considered. Students will explore the implications of these theoretical perspectives for research and practice in early childhood studies. 1 Credit

CS8921 Elements of Statistics
This course will cover the basic theory behind hypothesis-testing and explore various techniques for summarizing data, measuring relationships, and making inferences. Common statistical techniques such as correlation, t-tests, analyses of variance, simple linear regression, and chi-square will be taught. Students are expected to learn how to use the SPSS statistics package or equivalent. 1 Credit

CS8922 Inclusion: Educational Change
Educational change processes for inclusive school delivery models will be explored in this course within the sociopolitical context of family, school, community and society. The skills and role of the resource consultant as a collaborator in change, and the impact of inclusion on families, educators, and learners from diverse populations will be considered. 1 Credit

CS8923 Social Justice in Education
In this course students will explore the role of language and discourse in making people feel included in or excluded from our schools and society. Through the lens of postmodernism, students will examine theories and ideologies such as emancipatory leadership, social justice, critical realism, and cultural capital, and will develop a critically informed knowledge base for the pursuit of social justice as an explicit and necessary educational practice. 1 Credit

CS8924 Inclusion: Issues in Assessment
This course will focus on authentic assessments of learners with special needs across diverse populations. Issues of ecobehavioural assessment, evidence-based pedagogy, adaptive instruction and assistive technology for children with special needs will be highlighted. 1 Credit

CS8925 Multiage Groupings in ECS
This course introduces students to the discourses of multiage groupings, framing them within a cultural-contextual approach and presenting them as alternative constructions that challenge the legitimacy of the mainstream same-age grouping approach. Emphasis will be placed on community development, programming models for multiage groupings, elements of quality, fostering positive relationships, and children's learning. 1 Credit

CS8926 Risk and Resil: Child/Family
This course will examine the constructs of health and resilience and the factors that contribute to healthy outcomes for children in the face of risk and adversity. Students will critically examine the social, familial, and individual factors that pose risks for childhood development and identify points of intervention and change, with an emphasis on how diverse social and cultural experiences offer varied paths to adulthood. Research and theories on resilience will also be critically examined. 1 Credit

CS8927 Social/Political Contexts for ECS
This course will explore social and political factors shaping early childhood education and childcare programs in Canada. An historical and international perspective will be used to examine government, family, voluntary sector and market roles in ECEC as well as the effects of different approaches to ECEC policy on early learning for children, on parents, women and early childhood educators. There will be opportunities for students to develop their roles as advocates within the ECEC context. 1 Credit

CS8928 Transformative Literacy
Transformative approaches to early literacy build a foundation for positive academic outcomes by addressing the goals of bilingualism, biculturalism, and biliteracy. Transformative approaches involve collaborations between educators and their students, families to write books intended to strengthen the students, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic identities. This course introduces examples of transformative literacy programs and evaluates the implications of employing these approaches in the education of young children whose families are either newcomers to Canada or members of language minorities. The course provides opportunities to collaborate in the implementation of small-scale transformative literacy initiatives. 1 Credit

CS8929 Dual Language Learning
This course will build on first language acquisition concepts as it explores theories of dual (and multi) language development and learning in young children. Bilingualism and bilingual education will be investigated from social, historical, educational and political perspectives, focusing on minority language children in the Canadian context, but also drawing on bilingual experiences of other countries. Concepts such as simultaneous vs. sequential bilingualism, additive vs. subtractive bilingualism and language maintenance will also be explored. Prerequisite CLD206 or undergraduate course in language acquisition. 1 Credit

CS8930 Social Research with Children
Building on the core course in research methods, this course will focus on current debates and discussions regarding research that involves children. Methodological and ethical issues such as informed consent, children as collaborators in the research process, and power issues in social research with children will be considered. 1 Credit

CS8931 Children and Canadian Policies
This course will critically examine a wide range of Canadian social policies that touch the lives of young children. Policies that impact children's health, care, education, family life, and future well-being will be evaluated. The course will include the assessment of public policies that specifically affect Aboriginal children and public policies that specifically affect the children of newcomers. The beliefs and values that form the foundation for present policies will be clarified. Options for future policy development will be discussed. 1 Credit

CS8932 Children, Technology and Play
This course will critically evaluate the role of technology in the lives of children. Ideally, computers and online technologies are tools for putting people in touch with people and the objects they create. However, much of the technology is designed for children without sufficient investigation as to how children conceptualize technology in the context of constructivist and constructionist theories of learning. Traditional learning theories have not kept pace with new technologies, and as a result, much of the content developed for online learning does not take into account either the advantages of the new technologies, or the development of children’s thinking as a result of the dramatic increase in computer-mediated experiences. This course will explore learning technologies as they relate to children from a variety of perspectives. We will consider how technology is used in formal and informal learning environments, as well as the variety of interactions children typically have with technology through the consideration of children’s theories of learning, children’s software, and technical production with children (learning by doing, and performative thinking). 1 Credit

CS8933 Directed Studies in ECS
This course is for Masters Students who wish to gain knowledge in a specific area for which no graduate level class is offered. It would involve a directed study for which the student would be given credit. Students wishing to take the class would be assigned an advisor most familiar with the specific area of interest. Students would be required to present the work of one term (not less than 90 hours in the form of directed research, tutorials and individual study), in an organized publication format. 1 Credit

CS8934 Special Topics in ECS
This course provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced studies on issues and themes of immediate and current significance in the fields of Early Childhood Studies. It allows students to access leading-edge research and to explore new and emerging models of practice. The particular theme, topic and structure of the course will vary in response to changes and trends in the field, availability of specialists and student interest. 1 Credit

CS8935 Human Services Evaluation
This applied social research course introduces the principles and methods of evidence-based practice (EBP) in human service programs. Topics to be addressed include research design, methods of data collection, interpretation of statistics and the use of requests for proposals as a component of program evaluation. The course includes discussions of studies from the current literature, including work from peer-reviewed journals as well as work by human service agencies, government ministries and NGOs. 1 Credit

CS8936 Children's Rights
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is examined. The convention is explored within the framework of human rights principles and citizenship. Policy and practice implications will be considered through the lens of a child rights approach. Consideration will be given to understanding children's development as 'citizens' and children's participation in society. 1 Credit

CS8937 Queering Education
This course uses queer theory to explore how bodies negotiate their identities in social, cultural, political, and institutional contexts through an intersection of queer theory and education. Essentialist readings of the body as fixed and stable are disrupted using various queer theories to engage critical discussions of the body as mobile and fluid. The vision of this course is to create new spaces to rethink curriculum, teaching, and learning in early childhood studies. 1 Credit

CS8938 Cross-cultural Development
This course focuses on socio-cultural theories of child development. Students will critically examine methodology and research in cross-cultural human development, cultural variations in the socialization of behaviour, cross-cultural perspectives on physical growth and development, issues involving culture, language and cognition, culture, self and personality, cultural views of the individual, culture, sex and gender, culture social behavior and relationships, and the family in a cultural context. 1 Credit

CS8939 Re-conceptualizing ECE
This course provides opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with the re-conceptualizing movement in Canada and beyond; to articulate an understanding of alternative theoretical frameworks that are commonly used in the re-conceptualization of early childhood; to examine taken for granted notions of children, childhood and the child, and the teacher and teaching; and to rethink constructions and purposes of early childhood institutions. 1 Credit

CS8940 Indigenous Early Learning
Students will explore issues confronting Indigenous children and their families in Canada. Indigenous perspectives on the origins of these issues and the current environment are examined in the context of Indigenous self-determination. Course work focuses on issues from a national, provincial, and local perspective with discussions about world view, history, families, policy, and jurisdictional issues. Antirequisite CLD450. 1 Credit

IS8921 Equity for Newcomers: Schools
Educational policies and practices routinely disadvantage migrants, and especially those without language skills in English or French. Educational equity in Canada will be explored in terms of: research and theory on social dominance; attempts by educational organizations to develop processes that are friendly to immigrant families; and research on the educational experiences of first and second generation immigrant children and their parents. 1 Credit

IS8934 Multicultural Cities-Planning Plcy
Recent immigration patterns have prompted an exploration of local governments' provision of urban facilities, services and infrastructures. We will address how modern cities of diverse cultures evolve and what policy approaches can sustain them. The course offers a mix of theoretical explanations about the geographic, political and economic bases of multicultural cities and a critical review of current policies and planning practices. It compares cities around the world, with a focus on Greater Toronto Area. Antirequisite: PL8101. 1 Credit

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Yeates School of Graduate Studies

Early Childhood Studies

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Graduate Testimonials


Nick Petten, MA
Early Childhood Studies
"The graduate program taught me the importance of scientific rigor in studying childhood and education from a local and a global perspective." Read more...


Shani Halfon, MA
Early Childhood Studies
"Professionalism from the Standpoint of Early Childhood Educators"


Rachel Caplan, MA
Early Childhood Studies
“Challenges in Accessing Health Care Services: Canadian Children Living in Mixed-status Families”  Read more...