New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) and (Level 4)

Gain the core skills and knowledge you need to participate in the education and care of infants, toddlers and young children in entry-level carer roles in a range of early childhood settings. This hands-on qualification includes work placements to fully prepare you for a career in the real-world.

About the programme

Educators are always in demand and teaching skills are highly transferable. 

Working with children is a rewarding, fun, and diverse career and these certificates will prepare you for employment in the early childhood sector. 

This Certificate is made up of two programmes - one at Level 3 and one at Level 4.

The Level 3 programme includes 60 hours of work placements and will help you gain the core skills and knowledge needed to participate in the education and care of infants, toddlers, and young children in entry-level carer roles in a range of early childhood contexts. It is worth 60 credits and takes 17 weeks full-time to complete. It starts in February each year. 

The Level 4 programme includes 115 hours of work placements and will enable you to build on the skills and knowledge you developed at Level 3. You’ll learn how to practice as an inclusive educator, promoting diversity and the place of Māori as tangata whenua. It's also worth 60 credits and takes 17 weeks full-time to complete. It starts in July each year. 

If you meet the Level 4 entry requirements, you can enter directly into that level and just complete the one programme starting in July. To find out more and apply for that option, click here. It’s also possible to just complete the Level 3 certificate if that’s what you want to do.  

16-19 years old?

If you are a 16-19 year old and feel that school didn’t work out for you, you may be able to study the Level 3 programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school. See more info in the Fees section below.

Level 3 courses and work placements

You will undertake 60 hours of work placements in various early childhood settings. 

Courses 

1. Child Learning and Development 

Describe your practice as an early childhood educator using the bi-cultural curriculum framework, Te Whāriki, as it applies to the services, contexts, and philosophies of childhood learning and development in Aotearoa New Zealand.

2. Health and Wellbeing in Practice 

Learn how to promote the health and holistic wellbeing of infants, toddlers, and young children whilst managing own health, in compliance with legislation and regulations. 

3. Professional Practice 

Explore the role of an educator within the Early Childhood Education context. 

4. Community Engagement 

Engage in respectful relationships across the Early Childhood Education environment and acknowledge and promote the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua.

Level 4 courses and work placements

You will undertake 115 hours of work placements in various early childhood settings. 

Courses

1. Sociocultural Theories and Practices

Explore the theories and philosophies relevant to the Early Childhood Education context.

2. The Effective Educator

Examine your personal philosophy of practice; use strategies to manage health, wellbeing, and professionalism. 

3. Bicultural and Inclusive Practice

Learn how to practice as an inclusive educator, promoting diversity and the place of Māori as tangata whenua. 

4. The ECE Profession

Engage effectively with stakeholders within the early childhood education context to protect and support the wellbeing of children and families.

Further study options

This programme will prepare you for a range of careers including:

  • Childcare Support Worker 
  • Childcare Worker
  • Home-based Carer
  • Nanny 

With further training and qualifications, you could choose to become a:

  • Education Support Worker 
  • Tertiary Teacher 
  • Private Educator 
  • Industry Educator 
  • Staff Trainer

Graduates of this programme could undertake further study towards the New Zealand Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 5) or proceed to commence a Level 7 teacher education (ECE) qualification. Otago Polytechnic currently doesn't offer either of these qualifications but if you wish to speak with someone about further learning opportunities, please email our career advisors - careers@op.ac.nz

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.