Otago Polytechnic

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



Six months full-time; part-time options

On campus with work placements

July 2019
until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 July 2019
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 can also act as a pathway into higher level learning, leading to a teaching qualification. 

For more information about this programme, please contact programme lecturer lianne.dudson@op.ac.nz

*subject to final approval 

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 Vulnerable 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 names and contact details of two suitable referees that we can contact (download Referee report form here to give to your referees)
    • 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.

Please note: All applicants who are accepted must obtain a First Aid Certificate prior to the programme start date (Unit Standards 6400, 6401 and 6402)   

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language: 

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.5 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

Youth Guarantee Scheme details

To be eligible for Youth Guarantee funding, you must:

  • Be a domestic student between 16-19 years old
  • OR be 15 years of age at the time when you commence the programme AND have an early leaving exemption from your school
  • Not already hold a Level 3 qualification in any subject
  • Have been thinking about leaving school and getting a job OR prefer to be working towards a career rather than staying at school OR have left school and are not sure how to enter higher education or employment
  • Want to learn practical skills
  • Be more motivated in a non-school setting and be prepared to enrol in a full-time programme.

Fees and allowances

The Youth Guarantee Scheme will cover tuition fees, material and equipment costs of your programme of study. 18-19 year olds enrolled in fees-free Youth Guarantee qualifications will now be able to access the course-related costs part of the student loan and student allowances if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those under 18 years old will not be able to access any part of the student loans. Funding for travel is available, conditions apply. Please visit the Studylink website for full details. We strongly recommend that you read this carefully prior to applying for this programme.  

The process

  • There is not a separate Youth Guarantee application form. Please apply for this programme by using our standard Otago Polytechnic application form. To apply online, or to download a paper version, click the apply button at the top right hand corner of this page.
  • If you meet the criteria for Youth Guarantee funding you will be offered the funding if it is available. We will ask you to let us know within two weeks if you do not wish to take up the funding.  
  • If there is no Youth Guarantee funding available, we will send you a letter advising you of this. Along with this letter, you will receive an invoice, terms and conditions, a Studylink brochure and an equipment list advising what you will need to purchase before starting your programme. 
Courses and work placements

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


1. Socio-cultural 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. Bi-cultural 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 patricia.quensell@op.ac.nz  

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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