Conestoga news

June 25, 2014 9:24 AM

New degree program: Early Learning Program Development

A new, unique, four-year degree program to be introduced at Conestoga in September 2014 will prepare graduates for leadership roles in the field of early childhood education.

According to Goranka Vukelich, Chair of Community Services in Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, the Early Learning Program Development (ELPD) program was developed in response to changing system trends that have resulted in a growing need for degree-prepared graduates with the knowledge and skills to develop curriculum and policy initiatives for young children and their families.

“The new degree program will prepare graduates for a number of progressive careers that support children, youth and families in the areas of policy and program development as well as curriculum implementation and co-ordination,” said Vukelich.

The program includes co-op and situational learning opportunities that will help students integrate theory and practice and develop the interdisciplinary communication and collaboration skills required to mentor and provide leadership in people-centred practice.

“The graduates of this degree will possess a unique, complex skills set not currently available to our community in the areas of child education, program leadership and professional engagement,” said Nancy Dickieson, Director of Children’s Services at the Region of Waterloo. “Given the changes occurring in our early learning and care system, there is a strong need for a program such as this in Waterloo Region.”

The new degree program builds on the strong history of Conestoga’s two-year diploma program in Early Childhood Education, which examines the overall development of children along with strategies for supporting children's learning and development. The college operates a number of Child Development Centres in the region that will play a significant role in the delivery of this new and exciting degree.

Graduates of the ELPD program will be qualified to work in programs directly with children and families as well as indirectly with the systems that shape these programs. Working with school boards, government and organizations that provide programs for children and families, these graduates will be valued members of educational and policy teams. They may also opt to continue their studies through graduate work or teacher training.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Early Learning Program Development, right here where it all started for me,” said Kristine Parsons, Director of Operations for Owl Child Care Services and a graduate of Conestoga’s Early Childhood Education program. “This degree will build on my foundation and open doors for advanced facilitation opportunities and continued leadership in our community.”

Spaces for Fall 2014 enrolment in the Early Learning Program Development degree program are still available. An information session for those wishing to learn more about the program will be held at Conestoga’s Doon campus on Wednesday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. in room 2F26.

Program details are available at

For more information, contact Goranka Vukelich, 519-748-5220, ext. 3393.