Please note:

To effectively participate in this program, students must have reliable Internet access and a device that meets these requirements.

About the program

The Child Development Practitioner (ECE Apprenticeship) program is designed to provide individuals working in a child care setting with the opportunity to pursue formal education on a part-time basis while continuing to work in the sector.

To receive an offer of classroom training from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD), you must have an employer sponsor and be signed on as an apprentice with the government. An apprentice in Ontario must also be a member in good standing throughout their entire apprenticeship with Skilled Trades Ontario.

You may choose to complete your classroom training at one of our three campuses. We offer a Fall (September) intake at our Doon (Kitchener) campus, a Winter (January) intake at our Brantford campus and a Spring (April) intake at our Guelph campus. All our campuses offer a mix of online and in-person learning through our hybrid delivery model. Approximately 75% of the program will be delivered through online evening classes, and 25% in-person evening classes at your respective campus.

The Child Development Practitioner program focuses on facilitating a child's development of positive self-concept through creativity, play and diversity. Apprentices will explore child development and use knowledge to plan, implement and evaluate quality programming for young children in licensed child care settings.

Upon successful completion of both the classroom training, and on-the-job training hours, you will receive a Child Development Practitioner Certificate of Apprenticeship from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD), and a Child Development Practitioner Certificate from Conestoga College.

Apprentices are encouraged to bridge into the Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) program by enrolling in four (4) additional General Education credits. Graduates of the ECE Diploma meet the academic and field work requirements for registration with the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE) to become Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE)s.
Note: Admission to the program is required prior to registration for courses.

Admission requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or GED or equivalent
  • Prospective students must be registered apprentices with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) and must be a member in good standing with Skilled Trades Ontario.
  • Admission to the program is required prior to registration for courses.

Note re: admission requirements

  • For more information on apprenticeship training, contact your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office.
  • Conestoga College delivers the in-school component of this apprenticeship program as required by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. In addition, the Ministry requires employers to deliver the greater proportion of apprenticeship training on the job.
  • Students are required to demonstrate the same attention to punctuality and attendance as would be required by the business or industry in which they are employed.

Admission procedures

Graduate opportunities

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website:

Program outcomes

  • Design, implement and evaluate inclusive and play-based early learning curriculum and programs that support children's holistic development and are responsive to individual children's and groups of children's observed abilities, interests and ideas.
  • Establish and maintain inclusive early learning environments that support diverse, equitable and accessible developmental and learning opportunities for all children and their families.
  • Select and use a variety of screening tools, observation and documentation strategies to review, support and promote children's learning across the continuum of early childhood development.
  • Establish and maintain responsive relationships with individual children, groups of children and families.
  • Assess, develop and maintain safe, healthy and quality early learning environments which meet the requirements of current legislation, agency policies and evidence-based practices in early learning.
  • Prepare and use professional written, verbal, nonverbal and electronic communications when working with children, families, colleagues, employers, and community partners.
  • Identify, select and apply relevant legislation, regulations, college of early childhood educators standards of practice and code of ethics, policies and evidence-based practice guidelines, and interpret their impact on a variety of early learning environments.
  • Apply a developing personal philosophy of early learning in accordance with ethical and professional standards of early childhood education practice.
  • Advocate for quality early learning environments and collaborate with members of the early learning team, families and community partners to establish and promote such settings.
  • Engage in reflective practice, develop learning goals and maintain an ongoing professional development plan in accordance with evidence-based practices in early learning and related fields.

Program related resources

Apprenticeship registration

Before registering for an apprenticeship, you must:
  • Find an employer
  • Request registration from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
  • Confirm your seat with Conestoga once you have received your offer of classroom training from the Ministry
  • Pay the appropriate classroom fee

    Registration for the in-school training portion is on a first-come, first-served basis. All apprentices in Ontario are required to be a member in good standing with Skilled Trades Ontario. Visit Employment Ontario's Start an apprenticeship for more details. If you have questions pertaining to the in-school training portion, call Conestoga at 519-748-5220, ext. 3382.

Exemption testing

Exemption tests may be available to challenge for individual Levels. Please contact the Test Centre
Continuing Education
Upcoming registrations

Mark your calendar with our registration dates, so you can plan your future.

Fall registration: Opens July 22, 2024
Winter registration: Opens November 4, 2024