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Programme overview

In this field-based, practical programme you'll 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'll 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

TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Scholarships

  • 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.

We encourage early application as spaces are limited - applications for semester 2, 2018 are now open. 

Application process

1. Check whether you meet our programme admission requirements, click apply now and fill in the application form.

2. We'll be in touch within 48 hours to discuss your application. If eligible, you'll be invited to a group interview. You'll need to bring two forms of ID and sit a basic numeracy and literacy test. 

3. After the interview, you'll need to provide us with the following information via your application Dashboard:

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 convictions and medical conditions form

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
  • Pass an interview process which includes a group and individual interview plus a short numeracy and literacy test
  • 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

Don't meet some of the above requirements?

1. If you are over the age of 20 and don't have NCEA, you may be accepted by special admission.

2. If English is not your first language you will need to provide evidence of achieving an overall IELTS (Academic) band score of no less than 7.0 in each band of the test.

  • If you have studied in New Zealand for at least two years of secondary school and achieved the required literacy requirements or studied fully in English at a New Zealand or Australian tertiary education organisation, studied in a campus model of delivery in each year of your programme and graduated at Level 7 or higher, you don't need to meet an additional English language requirement.

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 Education Council’s Our Code, Our Standards of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession.
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 and 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.





The 'Key Information for Students' below does not reflect any international student information.

Please take this information as a guideline only. For example, you will often see a difference between these tuition fees and our estimate above. This is because there are a number of variables, such as the specific courses chosen within a programme.

The national graduate outcomes information is for all tertiary New Zealand providers including Unitec. This information is provided by the New Zealand Government and is derived from a national database that links educational and income information.

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirements: University Entrance with 14 credits at NCEA Level 3 in a mix of subjects, 10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or higher in Maths and English language requirements or relevant and equivalent qualifications, special and discretionary admission also accepted.

Detailed requirements: See the above "Admission requirements" section for more information about entry to this progrogramme.


3 Years

Tuition Fees


Total Qualification

Student fees:  $5,870$17,609
Government tuition subsidy: $8,791$26,374

Compulsory Student Services Fee
Student loan information available at StudyLink.

National graduate outcomes

(3 years after completion)
Median earnings$48,144
Earnings range$39,236 - $51,821
In employment83%
In further study13%
On a benefit1%

Note:All KIS information is the most recent available relating to domestic students only. Click here for more information about the Key Information for Students.