Programme overview

In this field-based, practical programme you will develop the skills to become a competent, informed and reflective early childhood teacher who is committed to young children and their learning and development. We believe people learn through participation and we value the experience and insight you'll gain from working in early childhood centres. There will be plenty of opportunities to relate these experiences to theory during campus sessions. When you graduate, you will be eligible to become a registered teacher in licensed early childhood education centres.


  • Teacher registration: once you've completed this degree, you can apply for teacher registration with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ Teachers Council)
  • We aim for informed and reflective teaching based on observation and understanding of how people learn
  • A thorough grounding in educational theory and relevant practice of teaching and learning, child development, relevant te reo and tikanga Māori and working with children and their families in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Emphasis on teaching practice: you'll be working (paid or voluntary) in a licensed early childhood centre for at least 12 hours per week during the programme
  • Experience teaching in a range of centres: each year you will also take part in a practicum, working full-time in an early childhood education centre for 37.5 hours per week
  • A strong emphasis on the New Zealand early childhood curriculum document, Te Whāriki, and a bicultural and sociocultural approach to learning
  • Acknowledgment of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which prepares you to implement te reo Māori me ona tikanga in your teaching practice
  • A focus on research: you'll develop an understanding of research methodologies with a particular emphasis on action research (self-study) in an early childhood setting

Part-time study

  • Part-time study options are available. Like full-time students, part-time students will need to work (paid or voluntary) in a licensed early childhood centre for at least 12 hours per week during the programme but study time will be part-time. Email Lee-Ann Turton (Academic Leader) or Lisa Helmling (Lecturer) for more information on how to apply for the part-time programme.

TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Schloarships

  • TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Scholarships: If you want to become an Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher and you're passionate about Māori or Pasifika cultures, a TeachNZ ECE Scholarship may be just what you've been waiting for. 

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

​1. University Entrance which requires NCEA Level 3 including:

  • 14 credits at NCEA Level 3 in three different approved subjects
  • 10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or higher in English or Maori (5 in reading, 5 in writing)
  • 10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau

2. Be at least 17 years old by the time the programme begins 

3. Be able to work for a minimum of 12 hours per week for the duration of the programme in a licensed early childhood centre

4. Complete a self-declaration of criminal conviction(s) and medical condition(s) which may prevent full participation in the programme and/or prevent registration with a regulatory authority (if applicable)

5. Consent to a Safety Check which meets the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Regulations 2015 including:

  • Provide two forms of ID and evidence of any name changes
  • Consent to a police vet check
  • Provide the names of two referees who Unitec or your placement provider can contact
  • If required, participate in an interview
  • If required, provide a chronological summary of your work history for the past 5 years and the name of any professional organisations, licensing authorities and registration authorities that you have been or are a member of

6. Candidates who have English as a second language are required to provide evidence of achieving an overall IELTS (Academic) band score of no less than 7.0 in each band of the test or be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency.

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 3 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; OR
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Introduction to Practicum (EDUC5519) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To demonstrate beginning teaching practice in a practicum setting
Te Kete Manaaki Tangata (EDUC5905) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To assist students to develop understandings of Maori values and tikanga through deepening understandings of Te Reo Maori me ona tikanga.
Contexts of Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (EDUC5911) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To examine the social, cultural and ecological contexts of early childhood education in Aotearoa/New Zealand, including the bicultural nature of Early Childhood Education and the diversity of early childhood services.
Partnership and Professionalism (EDUC5912) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To encourage the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes required for early childhood educators to work in professional partnership with whanau and community.
Human Development (EDUC5913) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To examine theories of development, in order to gain an understanding of human development across the lifespan and its applications to learning in early childhood contexts.
Academic Literacy for Early Childhood Studies (EDUC5914) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To explore a range of academic study, research, referencing and writing skills and tools in order to provide a foundation for early childhood research and study.
Introduction to Curriculum and Te Whariki (EDUC5915) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine curriculum, observation, planning and assessment in Early Childhood Education including the relationship between play and learning for young children.
Introduction to Work Experience (EDUC5919) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce the practice of teaching, with an emphasis on developing responsive and reciprocal relationships, through engagement in a work experience setting
Informed Practicum (EDUC6529) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To demonstrate teaching and professional practices that recognise and respond to the integrated nature of young children’s learning on a teaching practicum
Te Kete Manaaki Whenua (EDUC6905) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To further develop Te Reo Maori language skills, advance knowledge of Tikanga Maori, and develop students understandings of Manaaki Whenua and its application in teaching practice.
Historical and Current Contexts of Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (EDUC6921) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To critically examine the history and current social and political status of early childhood education in Aotearoa/New Zealand and its impact upon centres especially in the Pasifika community.
The Ethical Teacher (EDUC6922) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To assist students to extend their knowledge and skills in professional communication and respond to ethical dilemmas in an early childhood setting
Infants and Toddlers (EDUC6923) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To assist students to examine and analyse a range of theories and philosophies on the care, learning and development of infants and toddlers
Curriculum Content Knowledge (EDUC6924) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to critically examine theories and practices relating to curriculum content knowledge.
Research and Research Design in Early Childhood Education (EDUC6927) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To critically assesses the quality of research underpinned by a variety of research methodologies, with a particular focus upon action research.
Informed Work Experience (EDUC6929) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)Examine and apply current approaches in Early Childhood Education assessment, planning and evaluation through participation in a work experience setting.
Action Research Project (Self- Study) (EDUC7537) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To facilitate the implementation and reporting of an action research project in the context of an early childhood centre.
Advanced Practicum (EDUC7539) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To consolidate and refine teaching practice in relation to the capabilities identified by the Graduating Teaching Standards: Aotearoa New Zealand.
Te Kete Manaki Taonga (EDUC7905) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to synthesise Te Reo Maori me ona tikanga in their teaching praxis, and articulate their understandings of manaaki taonga and its application in teaching practice.
Policy and Discourse in Context: The Early Childhood Education (EDUC7931) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To critically examine social and educational policy, and contemporary discourses and issues relevant to early childhood education.
Personal Pedagogy and Leadership (EDUC7932) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The course facilitates the development and justification of a personal pedagogical philosophy for early childhood education in relation to children, whanau and communities. Students will critically analyse ethical, professional and leadership issues guiding their practice.
Diverse Learners (EDUC7933) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To critically examine the theory and practices that support a diverse range of learners in early childhood education settings
Advanced Curriculum and Pedagogical Documentation (EDUC7935) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to critically analyse and consolidate understanding of a range of curriculum issues and discourses.
Advanced Work Experience (EDUC7939) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)Engage effectively and critically in a range of professional practice and leadership strategies with the work experience setting.
Advanced Research (HSDV7340) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course provides students an opportunity to engage in designing and conducting an aspect of a negotiated research/study project relevant to the student’s discipline/context.