Please note:

Financial support is available to eligible applicants in the form of a leadership education grant and leadership travel grant. Apply online at

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

About the program

This part-time, post-diploma program is designed to provide graduates of early childhood education programs or equivalent with specialized training, knowledge and skills required to support young children of diverse needs, varying abilities and their families. Students will learn to use various observation and recording tools to assess childrens' abilities, determine needs and develop plans for inclusive, family-centred inclusion. In addition, they will be introduced to evidence based information and community resources that support and empower families to advocate on behalf of children.

Program information

All courses must be completed within 5 years of acceptance into the program.

Admission requirements

  • An Ontario College Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Degree or equivalent in Early Childhood Education, recognized by the College of Early Childhood Educators Ontario.

Note re: admission requirements

  • Applicants possessing degrees/diplomas from institutions where the language of instruction was not English will be required to provide test scores as evidence of their English language proficiency. Test scores, if required, would be a minimum of TOEFL 580 or 237 computer-based or 92 internet-based with TWE 4.5, IELTS 6.5 with no bands less than 6.0, CAEL 70 with no sub-test band scores less than 60, or equivalent scores in other recognized standard tests of English.
  • We offer a language program for students whose English language skills are below the standard required for admission but all other admission criteria have been met. You will be eligible for admission to the post-graduate program after completion of level 4 of the General Arts and Science - English Language Studies (ELS) program with an overall grade average of 80% and no grade less than 75%. Your placement in the ELS program is determined by scores on an in-house English language test or TOEFL or IELTS.

Admission procedures

  • Submit a completed Conestoga College application form.
  • Submit proof of Admission Requirements. Review Apply to a Program to learn how.
  • Final Selection is made following an assessment of admission requirements.

Program requirements

  • To qualify for field placement, students must present the following before classes begin:
    • Completed Conestoga College Immunization Records, which are to be maintained throughout the program.
    • A satisfactory Police Records Check for Vulnerable Populations.
    • Applicants are considered individually for exemption from courses completed previously.

Graduate opportunities

Graduates are qualified to become resource teachers as defined by the Day Nurseries Act.

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

Program outcomes

  • Build and maintain responsive relationships and partnerships with children with special needs and families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds including Indigenous peoples' worldviews and Francophone identity, to provide culturally relevant early learning opportunities, programs and services.
  • Recommend, discuss and plan, in partnership with families and early childhood educators, inquiry and play -based early learning program adaptations to accommodate and support learning, holistic development and well-being in children with special needs.
  • Advise and lead early childhood educators and children's service partners in the development of a philosophy of inclusion and policies and practices that support diverse, equitable and accessible learning opportunities for children with special needs and their families.
  • Administer observation strategies and screening tools to interpret and document children's learning and to identify children with challenges and facilitate family's referrals to resources for further assessment and intervention as necessary.
  • Collaborate with children, families, early learning educators, health professionals and children' s service partners to facilitate the planning, co-ordination and evaluation of individualized support plans for children with special needs.
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate strength-base d training to children, families, early childhood educators and children' s service partners to support quality, inclusive early years and child-care programs and services for children with special needs and families.
  • Provide consultation, service coordination and referral support to families, early childhood educators and children' s service partners to support communication, collaboration and continuity of services for children with special need s and families.
  • Comply with current legislation, regulations, policies and evidence-informed practices in early years and childcare settings to provide quality early learning programs and services for children with special needs and their families.
  • Advocate for inclusive, meaningful and purposeful early learning opportunities and services for children with special needs, their families and communities.
  • Engage in reflective practice and keep current in emerging research within the early years sector to lead initiatives related to inclusive practice and improving early learning opportunities, programs and services for all children and especially those living with special needs and their families.

Program related resources

Program contact

Continuing Education
Upcoming registrations

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

Spring registration: Opens March 11, 2024
Fall registration: Opens July 22, 2024