Field of Early Childhood Education

MPEd | Field of Early Childhood Education

Graduates of the Master of Professional Education in the field of Early Childhood Education receive sustained learning opportunities based in problems of ECE practice that will help them to understand the ECE field as a whole, conceptualizations of children, childhood, and children’s rights in ECE programming and curricula, key approaches to curriculum development, pedagogy, and assessment, ethical ECE practice, critical reflection in professional decision-making, issues of equity and diversity, subject-area concerns, conducting and evaluating ECE research, and other critical topics that will provide a basis for developing, implementing, evaluating, and celebrating curricula with young children.

ECE Certification Program

In partnership with Capilano University, the Faculty of Education is pleased to offer MPEd ECE students, the opportunity to add a set of courses and a practicum placement which will fulfill the license obligations stipulated by the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE) required for certification. Note: Students requesting these additional courses must meet Capilano University admission requirements and will be subject to additional course fees.

Applicants successfully admitted to the program, and who wish to take advantage of this opportunity, will take EDUC 348 at Capilano Univeristy in the Summer term of the first year, as well as the 250 hours Infant/Toddler practicum (EDU 349). In the second year, students will take the 250 hour practicum for 3-5 year olds (EDU 277).

For additional information, prospective students should email the Recruitment Office at, or by phone at 519-661-2111 ext. 88877 or 88878.


Important Note

The successful completion of a Master of Professional degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) or the College of ECE. The Master of Professional Education degree in the field of Early Childhood Education is intended to meet the needs of practicing educators.


The MPEd, ECE is designed to support early childhood education professionals in becoming educators who hold advanced, critical understandings of historically-situated and contemporary curricular and pedagogical knowledge and are able to identify and think with problems of praxis so as to co-produce new insights in ECE curriculum and pedagogy. Graduates of the program are at the forefront of the field and may call themselves pedagogists (see:

At the end of the program, students will demonstrate:

  • A working comprehension of how established and innovative techniques of curriculum research and dissemination are used to create and interpret knowledge in the practice of ECE such that students may be critical readers and consumers of research.
  • The ability to critically appraise established and innovative forms of research and scholarship in ECE curriculum relative to professional practice.
  • The ability to critically analyze and evaluate complex curricular and pedagogical problems of praxis through established and/or innovative principles, techniques, and approaches pertinent to the field.
  • Effective application of knowledge of ECE curriculum to critical analyses of problems of praxis as shown through the production of a sustained argument in written form and through other multimodal means pertinent to genres of dissemination accepted by the domain(s) of students’ professional practice.
  • Knowledge, skills, and subjectivities necessary for advocacy and leadership relative to ECE curriculum in professional practice which calls for:
    • i) initiative and professional responsibility in ECE curricular endeavours;
    • ii) critical decision-making and problem solving in ECE curriculum practice;
    • iii) intellectual independence and curiosity required for continuing professional learning;
    • iv) ethical behaviour consistent with academic and professional integrity and the use of appropriate academic and professional guidelines and procedures for responsible conduct of inquiry, research and scholarship; and
    • v) the ability to critically appreciate the broad implications of ECE curriculum and pedagogy.
  • The ability to effectively communicate ideas, concepts, issues, and arguments about ECE curriculum through multiple modes, media, and genres pertinent to their professional context(s), including with educators, families, and children.
  • Cognizance of the complexities and implications of ECE curriculum and pedagogy, including the potential affordances, constraints, and effects of a diversity of interpretations, methods, disciplines, philosophies, and theoretical frameworks relative to the field.



The MPEd is designated as a full-time program. Full-time status requires that students complete four half-courses in one year. MPEd students will complete one course per semester (fall, winter, intersession, summer) for two years. Full-time students have access to all student services at Western. See SGPS for details.

This program of study is a course-based cohort model. Approximately 20 students will be admitted to each cohort. This cohort structure will provide ongoing support within the course work, enabling students to develop a professional community of practice. To ensure the integrity of the cohort model, continuous enrollment is required, and will necessitate that students complete all the required courses within the timeframe stipulated.


Year 1 Fall
ED 9400A Understanding the Young Child

Foundations of early childhood education with historical and philosophical underpinnings. Critical examination of theories of children (birth-age 8) and childhood and approaches to ECE including developmental and reconceptualist. Considers contemporary debates and advances in the field (e.g., children's rights and issues of equity and diversity) with implications for professional practice.

Year 1 Winter
ED 9407B Understanding Early Childhood Education Curriculum

Critical analysis of diverse approaches to early childhood curriculum (e.g., Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Reggio Emilia, High/Scope) with implications for curricular commonplaces (i.e., child, educator, subject matter, milieu). Emphasis on advanced curriculum development, implementation, and assessment to enhance children’s meaning making.

Year 1 Summer - Intersession
ED 9408L Understanding Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Settings

Purposes and principles of assessment and evaluation in ECE settings. Topics include developmental screening, functional assessments, observation and documentation, and program evaluation. Emphasis on maintaining a credit view of children as learners and making ethical use of assessment data.

Year 1 Summer - Summer Session
ED 9409L Understanding the Early Childhood Educator

Multiprofessional nature of early childhood education and care and roles of professionals. Organization and governance of ECEC, including legislation and regulation of teaching and ECE professions. Topics include: ethical standards, interprofessional learning and collaboration, advocacy for children and families, implications of professionalization on ECE work and professional career trajectories.

Year 2 Fall
ED 9496A Understanding Research Methods for Educational Practice

An introduction to curriculum research as an innovative process with emphasis on designs involving students, educators, community members, and/or educational practitioners. Topics may include theoretical understanding and practical application of various research designs, relating to the topic of curriculum, including quantitative and qualitative methods to offer guidance in developing inquiry/questions of practice and reading/interpreting research. 

Year 2 Winter
ED 9497B Understanding Curriculum Leadership for Educational Practice

Focus on leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of positive curricular change. Emphasis on ways of conceptualizing curriculum leadership and advocacy and professional learning and reflective practice to promote equitable and enabling environments for all. The course will give students opportunities to explore curriculum leadership in their MPED focus.

Year 2 Summer - Intersession
Year 2 Summer - Summer Session
ED 9495 Capstone Course

The completion of a Capstone Course based in reflective field work that addresses students' MPEd focus.

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  • A four-year degree (20 full courses or equivalent) from an accredited university.
  • Minimum "B" standing (70%) or equivalent in the final two years of study.

Notes & Exceptions:

  • Bachelor of Education and Additional Qualification course grades are not used in calculating admission averages.
  • Applicants with 3-year degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis if seats are available in programs. Successful experience as an educator in a professional setting may be considered in the selection process.
  • Probationary Status: If an applicant does not meet all of the minimum admission requirements (e.g. average below 70% and/or has only a 3-year degree plus B.Ed.) the applicant may be offered admission as a Probationary Student with Conditions.
  • Conditions: Applicants will be required to maintain a 75% average in each of these courses to clear conditions.
  • The successful completion of a Master of Professional degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) or the College of ECE. The Master of Professional Education degree in the field of Early Childhood Education is intended to meet the needs of practicing educators.


Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer).

Current students can access fee information by logging into the Student Centre (use your Western email log in and password). Students are notified each term once fee amounts have been posted in the Student Centre; it is each student's responsibility to log into the Student Centre and pay fees by the due date indicated. Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee or deregistration.

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.


The Faculty of Education recognizes the financial commitment required to pursue professional graduate studies.

As the majority of our programs are fully online, we offer students flexible learning that allows them to fund their education by remaining in their current employment. Some employers offer subsidization or time release opportunities for the professional learning of their employees. As a result, internal funding is not available for these programs.

There are also many external funding opportunities for competitive candidates in our professional programs. Download this PDF file for an additional list of over 30 external awards (see more information below). Also, visit online sites that contain numerous award opportunities.

Please note that students must apply for these awards individually. Read the qualifications carefully, and contact the award provider for more criteria and award information. Some application support is available from the Research Office for research-based awards only.

Many private financial institutions offer financing options (with particular rates and payment plans) to full-time students. Please contact a representative of your preferred financial institution for more information.

Provincial governments offer a variety of loan programs to help students finance their studies. Ontario residents may be eligible to apply for OSAP.

The Government of Canada's CanLearn website provides a listing of contact information for the offices of all government student financial assistance programs. Please visit CanLearn to find your province or territory listing. The Government of Canada implemented the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) to encourage higher education and training. The LLP allows you to withdraw up to $10,000 a year from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner. For further information on this plan, visit the government's website at


Online and onsite courses are available via the Sakai OWL platform, although instructors of onsite courses use this tool to varying degrees as well. Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the and its accompanying password). Access to Sakai OWL is found here:

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer