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Early Childhood Studies (MA) Master’s Research Paper stream

Toronto Metropolitan University’s Master of Arts (MA) in Early Childhood Studies Master’s Research Paper (MRP) stream offers you the opportunity to pursue a research project on a topic of your choice, after completing seven courses.

Writing an MRP — with the guidance and support of a faculty member — is a great way to direct your own learning, pursue a specific research interest and contribute to the field of early childhood studies.

Our rewarding curriculum blends research and theory in early childhood studies, with a unique focus on diversity and inclusion.

As a student in the MRP stream, you must:

Write a Master’s Research Paper:  

  • Master’s Research Paper Students will conduct research on a topic of their choice related to early childhood studies; produce a scholarly paper under supervision of a faculty member; and orally defend their work before a committee. The Master’s Research Paper is a “Milestone.” Pass/Fail.

Take two required courses:

  • CS8902 Research Design for ECS In this course, students will learn about how knowledge is created, advanced or challenged, and shared with others. They will consider selected research approaches, strategies, data collection instruments, analytical processes, and forms of dissemination based on various purposes and audiences. They will develop a proposal for a small scale research project and be able to offer rationales for their methodological decisions. 1 Credit.

  • CS8904 Theoretical Frameworks for Childhood Studies Students will be introduced to a number of major theoretical frameworks drawn from a variety of fields and disciplines. Implications of these frameworks (e.g. developmentalism, feminism, post-modernism, queer theory, critical theory, post-colonialism, anti-racism, etc.) for research and practice in early childhood studies will be considered. 1 Credit

And take five elective courses from among the following:

Please note that not all electives listed will be offered in one academic year. View current course offerings.  

  • CS8902 Pedagogy and Curriculum Students will grapple with theories and provocations for thinking with curriculum and pedagogy relevant to the political complexities of 21st century childhoods. They will activate pedagogy and curriculum-making as responses to contemporary inheritances and conditions, and as ethical commitments toward living well with children in precarious times. 1 Credit

  • CS8903 Children Families Communities Students will learn theories and strategies to recognize and challenge educational practices that disadvantage children and families because of cultural, language, race, religion, socio-economic class or other “differences”. 1 Credit

  • CS8922 Leadership-Educational Change Educational change processes in the contexts of families, childcare, schools, communities, governments, and societies will be examined. The skills and roles of leaders who promote systemic changes will be discussed. 1 Credit

  • CS8923 Social Justice and Childhood In this course students will explore theories of social justice and their implementation within Childhood and as social practice. The role of language, social movements and discourse in constructing inclusive or exclusive spaces for children will be explored. Through the lens of childhood studies, students will examine theories and ideologies to develop a critically informed knowledge base for the pursuit of social justice as an explicit and necessary social practice. 1 Credit

  • CS8924 Inclusion: Issues in Assessment This course will discuss individual, group, and environmental assessments in the field of early childhood studies (birth to age 8). Students will also examine issues of equity related to assessment practices, particularly for children with disabilities. Theoretical frameworks for understanding assessment practices will be informed by the research literature, and students will become familiar with a number of assessment tools such as the Early Development Instrument (EDI). 1 Credit

  • CS8926 Risk and Resilience The construct of resilience and factors that contribute to healthy outcomes for children in the face of risk and adversities will be examined. Students will consider societal, institutional, familial, and individual factors that pose risks for healthy childhood development, and identify points of invention. Theories of resilience will be examined with an emphasis on how diverse social and cultural experiences shape pathways to adulthood. 1 Credit

  • CS8928 Transformative Literacy Transformative literacy challenges mainstream practices of literacy and inequities in education through critical pedagogy. It empowers voice through expression of self in relation to the world and is inclusive of children and families from diverse backgrounds. This course introduces students to transformative literacy concepts and approaches including: holistic education, multi-literacies, multiple and multimodal literacies.This course will offer the opportunity to participate in transformative literacy initiatives. 1 Credit

  • CS8929 Minority-Language Children This course provides an overview of bilingual education for young minority-language children. The course explores educational and socio-political dimensions of bilingual education; minority-language education in Canada (immersion, Indigenous languages, sign languages, heritage languages); and case studies from around the world. Students will have the opportunity to investigate their own areas of interest in bilingual education for young minority-language children, draw on appropriate theories and research methods, and present their research in a final project. 1 Credit

  • CS8930 Social Research with Children Building on the core course in research design, 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 and Play Children's play is primarily mediated by adult philosophical, ideological, social, pedagogical and cultural agendas, with children's own goals, interest and needs at the margins. This course explores the research and literature around the conceptualization and creation of tools and methods that foster child-initiated play, as a form of inquiry into physical and sensory phenomena. 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. Students arrange to work with an individual faculty member on a course designed by the student and the faculty in a specific area that is relevant to Early Childhood Studies. 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 Program 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 cultural variations in the socialization of behavior, physical growth and development, language and cognition, personality and identity, sex and gender, families and other social relationships. 1 Credit

  • CS8939 Re-conceptualizing ECEC This course will introduce students to the theoretical frameworks used in the re-conceptualizing Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) movement in Canada and beyond. They will have the opportunity to examine taken-for-granted notions of children and childhood, teachers and teaching, and the purposes of ECEC. 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

  • CS8941 Internship This course involves a minimum 120 hour internship at an organization focusing on policies, service delivery, or advocacy related to early childhood studies. Students taking this course will attend seminars, design and undertake a project under the joint direction of the instructor and internship supervisor, and write a report based on the project that involves reflection on student learning and skill development. 1 Credit

  • CS8942 Children’s Health This course examines research and emerging issues associated with children’s health and well-being. By adopting a holistic view of health, the impact of physical illness, mental health and social relationships are explored. A children’s rights perspective that advocates for health promotion forms the conceptual framework upon which to explore notions of well-being. An examination of the social determinants of health provides an opportunity to consider the evolution of pediatric care and current risks to children. 1 Credit.
  • CS8943 Eco Curric Pedagogy and Research This course explores the possibilities for curriculum, pedagogy, and research that is guided by ecological understandings of learning, knowing, acting, and being. Through engagement with theoretical texts and empirical works in ecologically informed curriculum, pedagogy, and research, the interconnectedness and complexity of systems that inform and guide theory and practice in the early years is critically analyzed. 1 credit

We offer full-time and part-time options for our MRP Stream.

Once full-time students complete the first term of the program, they will decide whether to pursue the MRP Stream or Courses Stream, based on their interests, skills and future aspirations. Part-time students make this decision following a year of study.

Recommended program structure: Full-time

Term Number of Courses Required
Term 1 (Fall)
  • Two required courses
  • One or two elective courses.
Term 2 (Winter)
  • Three or four elective courses.
Term 3 (Spring/summer)
  • MRP and one elective course, if needed.

Full-time students are expected to complete the program in 12 months (three terms), and have a maximum of three years to complete the program.

Please note that the suggested time paths are not the only way to complete the program.

Recommended program structure: Part-time

Term Number of Courses Required
Term 1 (Fall)
  • One or two required courses.
  • One elective course, or none if two required courses are taken.
Term 2 (Winter)
  • One elective course.
Term 3 (Spring/summer)
  • Two elective courses.
Term 4 (Fall)
  • One required or elective course.
Term 5 (Winter)
  • One elective course.
Term 6 (Spring/Summer)
  • MRP

Part-time students are expected to complete the program in 24 months (six terms) and have a maximum of five years to complete the program.

Please note that the suggested time paths are not the only way to complete the program.

You must also meet requirements for residency, continuous enrolment and minimum degree fees.