You are now in the main content area

Early Childhood Studies (MA)


Integrating diversity into early childhood studies, this program is unique in North America. Terms such as “diversity” and “inclusion” encompass linguistic, cultural and racial identity issues, and disability, gender, class, sexuality, age and migration status. This approach recognizes a child’s need to develop a positive identity as an individual and group member. Students gain a deep understanding of the complex issues affecting children and their families.

The program offers 12 courses per academic year, which includes 10 electives. Please note that not all electives listed will be offered in a given academic year.

Degree awarded: MA

Administered by: Faculty of Community Services

Early Childhood Studies graduate program website

 (PDF file) Early Childhood Studies graduate program calendar 2023-24


Course Code Degree Requirements: Master of Arts Credits


Master’s Research Paper*



Research Design for ECS



Theoretical Frameworks for Childhood Studies



Five elective credits


  * Students in the Courses Stream substitute three courses for the Master’s Research Paper.  


Course code Course name Credits


Pedagogy and Curriculum



Children Families Communities



Leadership-Educational Change



Social Justice and Childhood



Inclusion: Issues in Assessment



Risk and Resilience



Transformative Literacy



Minority-Language Children



Social Research with Children



Children and Canadian Policies



Children and Play



Directed Studies in ECS



Special Topics in ECS



Program Evaluation



Children’s Rights



Queering Education



Cross-cultural Development



Re-conceptualizing ECEC



Indigenous Early Learning






Children’s Health



Eco Curric Pedagogy and Research


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

CS8901 Research Design for Early Childhood Studies

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.

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

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

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 Indigenous children and public policies that specifically affect immigrant and refugee children. 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

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. 1.0 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