Early Childhood Teacher Education
Working in early childhood education will offer you a challenging and rewarding career. You will enhance the lives of infants, toddlers, and young children, and provide support for whānau in the important task of parenting/caregiving. The early years of a child's life have a critical impact on their lifelong development; high-quality learning experiences within those years lay the foundations for all later learning.
Now is a particularly good time to get into early childhood teaching as there are many scholarships for students enrolling in Early Childhood Teacher Education programmes. Find out more on the Teach NZ website.
UC offers multiple pathways to a career in early childhood teaching (with differing entry criteria):
- if you do not already have a degree, see the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)
- for those who have already graduated with a recognised degree, see the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)
Please see the appropriate qualification page for specific information on entry requirements and the application process.
As places are limited we strongly recommend that you apply for programme entry as early as possible. Applications close four weeks prior to the commencement of the programme in early February, or when places are filled (whichever comes first).
UC offers a three-year Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) leading to provisional teacher registration in Aotearoa New Zealand. See the degree webpage for the list of required courses.
Early Childhood qualifications at UC have four components.
- In Education, you will learn about the aims and purposes of education, child development, teaching and learning, assessment, the Aotearoa New Zealand education system, socio-political and cultural contexts, communication skills, information skills, and contemporary issues in education.
- In Professional Inquiry and Professional Practice you will learn practical teaching skills and spend time working in an early childhood setting alongside an experienced teacher. You will also be visited by a lecturer who will observe and discuss your progress. The degree includes two blocks of Professional Practice in first year (one for two weeks and another for four weeks) and two blocks of up to five weeks in each of the second and third years.
- In Curriculum Studies you will learn about Te Whāriki – the Early Childhood Curriculum. Students gain pedagogical knowledge (knowledge about the theory of teaching), and skills required to teach effectively within an integrated curriculum.
- We continue to extend the professional practice opportunities and multicultural competencies for Early Childhood Teaching students by offering international teaching/learning opportunities, mainly in the Pacific and in Asia. These experiences give students first-hand exposure to alternative early childhood settings in another culture.
Distance study option
The Early Childhood distance study option is available to Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) students throughout the country. Students must be able 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 Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Courses integrate web-based material, audiovisual resources, video conferences, and email. Students also attend professional practice placements in early childhood education centres for up to ten weeks per year.
See the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) for more information on this distance learning option.
The Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) caters for students who hold a university degree and offers a one-year pathway into early childhood teaching, offered by distance study.
Students are required to attend professional practice placements in early childhood centres throughout their studies, as arranged by the College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora.
Working in early childhood places you in the middle of the fun, challenging, and ultra-important world of caring for infants, toddlers, and children. This is an interactive and collaborative profession where teamwork is highly valued, which can enhance your job satisfaction too.
Early childhood teachers who graduate from UC are highly respected and find roles in early learning centres, childcare centres (public and private), kindergartens, kōhanga reo, hospitals, and government agencies.
Our graduates leave with first-rate teaching skills that have been tried and tested in various settings while on placement throughout their studies. The applied knowledge of different teaching strategies, learning styles, and knowledge of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, prepares skilled graduates who will succeed in facilitating the development and learning of infants, toddlers, and young children in their vital years.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Early Childhood Teaching.
Rehua building – see the College's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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