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



Six months full-time; part-time options

On campus with work placements

Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    18 July 2022
    3 October 2022 - 14 October 2022

Build on the skills and knowledge you developed at Level 3. 

Educators are always in demand and teaching skills are highly transferable. During this programme, you will learn how to provide hands-on education and care to young children from a range of cultural backgrounds. 

Alternatively, it could also act as a pathway into higher level learning, leading to a teaching qualification. 

For more information about this programme, please contact programme lecturer

Career opportunities 
  • Childcare Support Worker 
  • Home-based Carer
  • Nanny 
  • Education Support Worker 
  • Tertiary Teacher 
  • Private Educator 
  • Industry Educator 
  • Staff Trainer. 
Entry requirements 
  • Learners must be at least 17 years old. 
  • For applicants under 20 years old, NCEA Level 2 including 10 Level 2 literacy credits and 10 Level 2 numeracy credits OR New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) OR equivalent academic achievement.  
  • For applicants over 20 years old, there are no academic entry requirements.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed on the programme. 
  • For all applicants, an interview will be held prior to acceptance to assess your suitability for working with children in the community and to ensure Otago Polytechnic meets the legislative requirements of the Children's Act 2014. In accordance with this Act, you will be: 
    • required to complete a New Zealand Police consent to Disclosure of Information form 
    • required to supply the contact details of two referees who are willing to give a confidential report. Referees must be over 16 and cannot be related to you, be a partner/spouse/friend or live at the same address as you.
    • required to attend an informal interview to discuss your suitability for working with children in the community. 
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Courses and work placements

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


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 

Graduates of this qualification may 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 practitioner  

Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.   


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.

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