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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
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New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3)

This course is available


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If you have NCEA Level 1 or equivalent this is a great way to start your ECE career. You will study three courses and volunteer or work in a licensed ECE service for 4 hours a week.

This qualification will ready you to work in the early childhood education profession as a:

  • home-based carer/educators
  • nanny
  • educator working in education and care centres in a permanent or relieving position working under supervision of fully qualified and certificated teachers
  • coordinators of a certificated playgroup.

What you will learn

When you achieve this qualification you will be able to:

  • contribute to an environment that provides for the health, safety and wellbeing of infants, toddlers and young children
  • work in compliance with early childhood regulations and legislative requirements
  • use your knowledge of children’s learning of development, and the bicultural nature of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whariki, to develop your own culturally responsive practice for working with young children
  • develop and maintain relationships with children, families, whanau and colleagues through the use of a range of communication strategies and social and cultural connectedness within an early childhood education and care setting
  • demonstrate knowledge professional behaviours and strategies to manage personal health and wellbeing in an early childhood setting
  • demonstrate knowledge of ethical responsibility in relation to own values and beliefs to guide practice in an early childhood setting
  • know about community and government services that help in operation of an early childhood education and care setting
  • use early childhood philosophies to inform your understanding of the diversity of early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • use basic te reo Maori and tikanga Maori within an early childhood setting
  • develop your awareness of Maori as tangata whenua.

This qualification will also be useful for people seeking employment in community service organisations that work to enhance the lives of young children and their whanau, families and communities.

Academic pathways

After you complete this qualification you will meet the entry requirements (subject to meeting to the selection criteria) to enter our Level 4 Certificate in Early Childhood Education & Care.

You can study this programme part-time if you’re an international student living in New Zealand or overseas. If you’re living in New Zealand you will need to be in paid employment with a valid work permit.

Entry criteria

To enrol in this programme you need to have NCEA Level 1, or equivalent, and be a minimum of 17 years of age at the start of the programme.

If you are 20 years of age or over and do not hold the minimum entry requirements you will be eligible to be enrolled where your previous educational, work or life experience indicates you have a reasonable likelihood of success.

IELTS test – a General or Academic score of 5, with no band score lower than 5, or equivalent.

Cambridge English Qualifications – B2 First or B2 First for Schools with a score of 154. No less than 154 in each skill.

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