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Job Sheet: Early Childhood Education

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Job title
Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher

Job description
Early childhood education teachers educate and care for young children in early childhood education services such as kindergartens, k?hanga reo or education and care centres.

There are opportunities to learn and develop different philosophies for different environments, including Montessori, K?hanga, Rudolf Steiner etc.

Kohanga reo kaiako also help children learn te reo Maori and tikanga Maori (culture and customs).

Early Childhood education teaching is challenging, fulfilling and fun. You get to see immediate results while supporting children's learning and development in their formative years.

Early childhood education teachers need to have:

- teaching skills, and knowledge of different teaching strategies and learning styles
- knowledge of Te Wh?riki, the early childhood curriculum
- knowledge of child learning and development, and of early literacy and numeracy
- good communication skills and the ability to relate well to children and adults from a range of cultures
- administration and report-writing skills
- organisational, problem-solving and decision-making skills
- knowledge of first aid.

Qualifications required

To become a qualified, registered early childhood teacher you need one of the following qualifications:

- Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
- Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
- Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)

Secondary Education:

To enter an early childhood teacher education programme, university entrance (NCEA Level 3) is required. Some diploma programmes have slightly lower entry requirements.

Training on the job

Some tertiary education providers offer centre-based programmes of study so early childhood teachers can study while working in ECE.

You complete practicums while you're studying, which is a great way to get a better understanding of the variety of ECE settings and philosophies.

Early childhood education teachers also get to do ongoing professional development throughout their teaching careers.


Once ECE qualified, teachers apply for teacher registration from the New Zealand Teachers Council, and are issued with a practicing certificate. After two years of support and guidance as a teacher they can apply for and gain full teachers registration.

Training costs

- It will cost approximately $5,000 per year to complete a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
- It will cost approximately $5,500 per year to complete a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
- It will cost approximately $4,000 per year to complete Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).

Early childhood teachers work throughout New Zealand as well as world-wide.

Career path

There are many career paths available and you can move into different educational roles such as head teacher, management, professional support-development, etc.

Salary range

Salary depends on qualifications, setting and geographic location. Qualified and registered teachers are paid more than non-qualified and unregistered teachers.

Other careers this profession could lead to

- University lecturer
- Researcher
- Can work for a Government agency (e.g. management and admin of Early Childhood Education),
- Can work for a training organisation associated with Early Childhood Education
- Can up-skill and work in other teaching sectors (e.g. primary, secondary, Special Education)

How to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry

- A genuine desire to work with young children
- Volunteer work or experience working with children and their families is useful.
- Experience in teaching, social work, education is useful but not necessary.

Places to source information about this job

Other relevant points

TeachNZ offers a number of scholarships to people who want to train as early childhood teachers.

The Ministry of Education offers a number of financial assistance options for students working towards their first Early Childhood teaching qualification that leads to registration as a teacher. Below is a brief description of each:

Study Grants - These grants are worth $3000 (GST inclusive) and are available to people who already hold or are enrolled in particular qualifications. It is intended that the Study Grant is used to contribute towards study costs.

ECE Service Teacher Education Grants - The ECE Service Teacher Education Grants (ECESTEG) are paid to teacher-led centre-based ECE services to contribute to the costs faced by the service when supporting staff members gain a first ECE teaching qualification approved by the New Zealand Teachers Council. The ECESTEG is worth $3375 (GST inclusive) for each successful application every year.

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