Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)


As an early childhood teacher you have the chance to teach infants, toddlers and young children when they are most open to learning. The rapid rate of development in children of this age and their natural desire to learn makes for a hugely gratifying environment in which to work.

The Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) (BTchLn(EarlyChildhood) is an internationally recognised qualification that prepares you for a teaching career in different early childhood settings. This degree is available to study full-time or part-time:

  • on campus in Christchurch
  • in New Plymouth by a mix of face-to-face and distance study
  • by distance through the Flexible Learning Option (FLO).

Features of the BTchLn(EarlyChildhood) at UC

  • A UC teaching qualification is recognised nationally and internationally as being of high quality
  • Flexible learning options in the way you study and where
  • International study opportunities, for example Rarotonga, Samoa and China
  • Students get to know their lecturers and classmates well
  • Scholarships may be available, including $10,000 TeachNZ Scholarships (see the TeachNZ website).

Entry requirements

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. For example, applicants may want to consider the Certificate in Learning Support (CertLS) which is available by distance or the Certificate of University Preparation (CUP). For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

For the full degree entry requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood).

Qualification specific requirements

Selection process

The BTchLn(EarlyChildhood) has one intake each February. Selection for entry is based on:

  • your academic ability, involvement and interest in working with children, community involvement, communication skills and other personal qualities as outlined in the Application for Programme Entry
  • a police check, referees' reports and an interview
  • a short literacy and numeracy test.

English language requirements

Students for whom English is an additional language must provide evidence of their English language ability as follows:

  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0, with no individual score below 7.0; or
  • at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school, with at least ten Level 2 NCEA credits in Literacy (five reading and five writing) or equivalent.

See the 'How to apply' section below for more details.

Qualification structure and duration

The Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) requires 360 points as follows:

  • 105 points from Education courses
  • 90 points from Professional Inquiry
  • 60 points from Professional Practice
  • 105 points from Curriculum Studies.

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood).

Flexible Learning Option

If you would like to study by distance you will need to attend up to two on-site intensives, one of which is a two week on-site intensive at the beginning of the programme. This will be held in Christchurch unless you are enrolled in the regional programme in New Plymouth.

Courses integrate web-based material, audiovisual resources, video conferences and email. You will also attend professional practice placements in early childhood education centres for up to ten weeks per year.


The BTchLn(EarlyChildhood) can be completed in three years by full-time study or up to six years by part-time study.

Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
    Professional Inquiry
    Professional Practice
    Curriculum Studies

Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).

How to apply

Applications open in July and close four weeks prior to the start of the programme in early February, or when places are filled.

Download an Application for Programme Entry or phone the Contact Centre on 0800 VARSITY (827 748) to request one. For more information on the application process visit UC College of Education, Health and Human Development.

Further study

Graduate option

If you already hold a university degree, UC offers two pathways to a new career in early childhood teaching:

Relevant postgraduate qualifications

Career opportunities

Successful graduates meet the requirements for provisional teacher registration with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).

A UC degree in Early Childhood teaching means you will be able to join a skilled and collaborative teaching profession. Early Childhood graduates can work in a range of early childhood settings including early learning centres, childcare centres (public and private), hospitals and government agencies. 

Many graduates have gone on to own and operate their own early childhood businesses. 

Transferable skills apply in industries outside of teaching eg, educational publishing, policy, advocacy, consultancy, social work and the police.  

Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.

More information

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood). For information on resources, facilities and staff visit the College of Education, Health and Human Development

For more information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students) or visit the Liaison Office’s course planning page (new students), or a College of Education, Health and Human Development Student Advisor (advancing students).

Rachael Houde

Rachael Houde

'I loved flexible learning. I could be a mum when I needed to be, and watch the lectures when it was convenient for me...'

Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

Cain Tweedie-Cunningham

'I learned that teaching the younger, new entrant kids was a lot harder than I expected, but it was surprisingly fun...'