Program Overview

The Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership is a four-year honours degree program for students who want to become passionate leaders. Students will learn a solid foundation in child development, pedagogy, human relationship, curriculum development, and leadership skills. Graduates find employment in guiding and leading curriculum and pedagogy, family support programs, and early intervention services.

Program Details

Program Code
120 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2022 September
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2022 September
2023 September

Your Learning Experience

The education and early years landscape is rapidly evolving and requires successful and passionate leaders. Begin your journey with the innovative Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program.


This four-year early childhood education degree program will prepare you with a solid foundation in child development, pedagogy, human relationships, curriculum development and leadership skills. You will participate in applied learning, case studies, research and field placements in the community. All this culminates in one fourteen week-internship before your final year of studies, followed by your final year capstone research project. Your studies and experiences in the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program will provide you not only with your Bachelor's in early childhood leadership, but also with the necessary skill set to graduate and move forward into various leadership roles.


This innovative four-year honours program offers students studies in early childhood development, pedagogy, human relationships, curriculum development, and leadership. Students develop the necessary skills to engage as pedagogical leaders in a diverse range of roles in the evolving disciplines within the early years education and care sector. 


A key component of this degree is the applied learning that takes place in ideal sized classrooms focusing on case studies, research, interpersonal communication, advocacy and leadership skills. Students complete two field practicums in first and second year in addition to a fourteen-week intensive Internship between third and fourth year. International internships are offered on a limited basis for qualifying students. 


In the final year, graduating students participate in a major capstone course that provides students the opportunity to integrate their practical experiences and knowledge in a supervised research project.  Opportunities for graduating students include positions as Registered Early Childhood Educators in childcare, JK, SK, supervisory roles, ECL leaders in social service agencies, or with the Ministry of Education. Students may further their studies in B.Ed. programs (Teacher’s College) at Canadian universities, as well as internationally. Graduates may also pursue their Master of Education, Master of Social Work, or Master of Arts degree.


Career Information

Fanshawe’s Honours Early Childhood Leadership (ECL) baccalaureate prepares graduates to take a leadership role in Ontario's early childhood settings, family support programs or early intervention services. The goal of the program is to prepare childhood professionals with program leadership capacity to move into supervisory/director positions in a full range of early childhood programs and/or to further their studies in graduate programs such as the Bachelor of Education and Master of Education programs.


Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program:

Early Childhood Educator
Enthusiastic and passionate about working with children aged three months to four years.

Au Pair
Care for children working with private families in a variety of international locations including England, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Early Childhood Educator

Collaborate with a classroom teacher to plan and implement an early learning program.

Field Experience

The first two field experiences in Level 2 and Level 4 are completed concurrently with course work.  Students will be expected to demonstrate their ability to apply their growing knowledge of children's early learning and development taking into account the context of their daily lives in families and residential and cultural communities. They will also demonstrate increasing abilities to design, implement and to evaluate curriculum for individuals and groups of children. 

The third field experience is a 14-week work term in an early childhood program, related child and family service, or relevant government department.  The focus of the work term is on the students' growing understanding about the conditions that guide and promote effective curriculum and pedagogy.  Students’ preparation and acquisition of their internship placement is supported via a seminar in level 6 before the work term.

The fourth field placement is concurrent with Level 7 and aligns with courses in early childhood studies, curriculum leadership, and managing projects. Students will continue in their work term site and complete a project related to pedagogy or curriculum. They will work with the site to identify an issue and collaborate with appropriate staff and families to complete the project.

Bridge to Early Childhood Leadership with Advanced Standing

Steps to Pursue this Pathway:

1. Students will need to first meet one of the following requirements:

  • Students completing semester 4 of the Fanshawe ECE diploma program before the May start of the bridging semester who will have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Graduates of Ontario Colleges ECE programs who graduated with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

2. Students can apply for the bridging semester as follows:

  • Fanshawe ECE grads may apply to the bridging semester of the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program (ECL1) by completing Fanshawe's Program Transfer Form. Copied below are important tips to help students complete the Program Transfer Form for entering the bridge term.    
  • Contact at the Office of the Registrar for more information.  The bridging semester is offered during the summer term.  Students will enter level 5 of the ECL program in the fall term after completing the summer bridge. 
  • Non-Fanshawe applicants please apply via under Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership Degree Completion Ontario College Two-Year Diploma Grads.

3. Students will need to then successfully complete the four bridging courses during the May to August term:

  • Two composite courses (Bridging Course #1 Evidence Based Practice in Early Childhood and Bridging Course #2 Introduction to Early Childhood Leadership) for a total of six credits
  • PLUS Composition & Rhetoric from the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program
  • PLUS One Degree Level Breadth Course Elective (it is recommended that this be a subject other than an SOSC course)

4. Successful bridging students will enter Level 5 of the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership degree in September.


Tips for Completing the Program Transfer Form (Fanshawe Graduates Only):

  • Fanshawe's Program Transfer Form is available online.
  • Log in using your Fanshawe College user ID and password (the same you use for FOL).
  • Select Level 2+ on the first page of the form.
  • Find the program code. Note, the Program Code and Name is alphabetized under ‘H’ for ‘ECL1 - Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership’
  • Enter ‘Level 4’ and start month as ‘May’
  • Select ‘summer’ for the term
  • In the comments section enter the following note:  
    • For domestic students note “This application is for the bridge program for ECL1.4 LCB2” on the form. Indicate if you require the evening online section.
    • For international students note ““This application is for the bridge program for ECL1.4 LCIB2” on the form. Indicate if you require the evening online section.
  • Agree to the acknowledgement question. The next screen confirms your information and then you submit the form to apply.


For More Information:

Please contact Sandra Lackenbauer, Program Coordinator (


Post-Graduate Studies Beyond Fanshawe

Students may further their studies in B.Ed. programs (Teachers College) at Canadian universities, as well as internationally. Graduates may also pursue their Master of Education, Master of Social Work, or Master of Arts degree.

Fanshawe’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership grads have gone on to successfully pursue:

  • Bachelor of Education – Teachers' College
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Social Work- Children’s Hospital
  • Ministry of Education – Early Years Consultant
  • Ministry of Education- Policy Analyst
  • International Work- Supervisor Children’s Museum
  • Women’s Community House
  • Supervisors, R.E.C.E. Early Years Settings

Pathway opportunities include:

Western University, Queens University, Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, Brock University, Trent University, Ryerson University, OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, York University, Sligo (Ireland), Griffith (Australia), major universities across Canada.

Maureen Cullen

"I feel that my honours degree in early childhood education has prepared me well and given me a solid foundation for my future research. My degree has offered me professional opportunities to work effectively in our community, as well as to further my studies as a graduate student in the Master’s of Education program at Western University."

Maureen Cullen
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, behavior 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


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Sandra Lackenbauer, Ph.D.

Field and Internship Coordinator:

Mary Mitches B.A.,RECE, AECEO.C, MPed.

Admission Requirements

OSSD with six Grade 12 U or M with a minimum overall average of 65% with the following specific courses:
- Grade 12 English (U)
   (Note: minimum final grade required is 65)
- Any grade 12 Math (C* or U)  or Any Grade 12 Science (U) or (M)
- *applicants applying with Grade 12 College level math must ensure they have six courses at the U or M level
- Final minimum average of 65.0% based on the highest six Grade 12 U or M courses

Mature Applicant with standing in the required courses and grade stated above

Post-Secondary Standing** (if applicable)

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Test Score
IELTS Academic Overall score of 7.0 with no score less than 6.5 in reading and listening and a score of 7.0 in writing and speaking
CAEL Score of 70 in writing, reading and speaking and a score of 60 in listening
PTE Academic 65
Cambridge English Overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 185 with no score less than 176 in reading and listening and 185 in writing and speaking
ESL4/GAP5 Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9 or 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10


Learn More about English Language Requirements

Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Grade 11 Raising Healthy Children (O)
  • Grade 11 Working with Infants and Young Children (C)
  • Grade 12 Challenge and Change in Society (U)
  • Grade 12 Families in Canada (C) or (U)
  • Grade 12 Human Development Throughout the Lifespan (M)
Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing

  • Advanced standing will be considered on a case by case situation based on previous area of study.
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements 
  4. Achievement in Post-Secondary Studies** (if applicable)


  • **Applicants currently enrolled in a university or who have previously attended university or other post-secondary institutions and are applying to transfer into the Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program are considered on the basis of their post-secondary standing. Specifically, applicants currently enrolled in a university or who have previously attended university must maintain a minimum average of 65.0% on the last ten full credit or full credit equivalent courses in order to be considered for admission. Applicants with less than ten full credit courses must maintain a minimum average of 65.0% on all courses in order to be considered for admission. Applicants applying from a community college must have successfully completed a diploma program with an overall GPA of 2.5 in the completed program. In addition, all students applying from university or college must have completed the pre-requisite courses in English, Mathematics and/or Science, as stated in the Admission Requirements.
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admission Requirements

Ministry Consent

President: P. Devlin, CMM, MSC, CD, HBA, MSS
Senior Vice-President Academic Services: G. Lima, MA
Vice-President Student Services: M. Beaudoin, BA, MLS
Dean, Faculty of Health, Community Studies and Public Safety: P. McLaughlin, BNSc, MEd
Associate Dean, School of Community Studies: S. Fieber, MSW, RSW, MBA
S. Lackenbauer, BA, MA, PhD
M. Mitches, BA, RECE, AECEO.C, MPed.
T. Bonnett, Ed.D, M.ECEd., R.E.C.E., Certified Trauma Integration Clinician
C. Bourbonnais-MacDonald, BA, BEd, MEd, Ed.D.

Within the program, breadth courses are taught by a variety of faculty with graduate credentials in Social Sciences, Humanities and Sciences.

Fanshawe College has been granted a consent by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development to offer this applied degree program for a seven-year term starting August 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.


Core Courses
Take all of the following Mandatory (Core) Courses:
The Minimum Cumulative GPA for Core Courses is 2.5
(ECED-7002 and ECED-7001 are for ECE bridging students

Group 1
In addition to the following mandatory courses,
please refer to the Non-Core Level 1 requirement
ECED-7004Human Development-Foundations3
The course introduces the study of human development from a developmental health perspective. Recent findings about early brain development and genetic expression join traditional theories from development psychology and population health perspectives into a framework of understanding that is the foundation for working with young children and their families.
HLTH-7001Personal Wellness3
In this course students will explore the Canadian healthcare system, and resources that promote holistic well-being. Prevailing health conditions and their associated risk, protective, and prevention influences will likewise be examined. Students will analyse connections between neurobiology, early years environments, the early childhood leader, and trauma-informed care. Opportunities to apply health risk evaluation tools and integrate holistic wellness concepts into a personal wellness plan, reflective of the complexities of first year post-secondary studies, are main to this course.
ECED-7005Observing, Recording & Assessing3
In this course students will explore observing, recording and assessing skills and their connectedness to curriculum and pedagogy in early childhood programs. Students will examine how to gather and interpret data to inform curriculum that positively influences children's play, and development. Students will have opportunities to translate theoretical knowledge into practice, and investigate sensitive and professional ways to communicate documentation with families, colleagues, and community partners.
COMM-7009Interpersonal Communication3
The course emphasizes self-knowledge and professional development through the mastery of effective interpersonal skills while addressing leadership skills, advocacy and conflict resolution. Students build a foundation in effective communication theory and practice within the context of early childhood settings. Particular emphasis is given to communication competence in a multicultural, interdisciplinary, child- and family-focused workplace.
ECED-7024Principles to Practice in Early Years3
Students will be introduced to models of early childhood program delivery and review curriculum in which environments, interactions, daily routines, schedules and transitions are designed to support childrens capacity to regulate the expression of emotions, behaviour and attention. This course explores play as a means to early learning and development. Respect for families, communities, relationships and diversity are emphasized as a prerequisite for effective early childhood programs.
View all courses

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.