Early Childhood Education (ECE) is a critical first step in building the foundation for a child’s learning and development.
An Early Childhood Teacher is at the cutting edge of education and plays a pivotal role
in helping young children along a pathway of lifelong learning.
A career in ECE will develop a person’s professional skills and qualities, and provide a career pathway with competitive pay.
The demographic make-up of New Zealand is changing.
The needs that were driving teacher supply 10 years ago were completely different from those of today. In particular, the government welcomes more men into teaching, more teachers who can korero (speak) Maori and teach in te reo Maori, and more teachers from Pasifika cultures. The government needs our education workforce to be as dynamic and diverse as our children.
Many New Zealanders are keen to do their best and attain a qualification that will equip them to develop a strong teaching career. Getting a teaching position is a competitive process influenced by the quality and level of education, personal qualities and aptitude for teaching.
If you think that there is a place for you in the future of ECE, your next step will be to choose a programme of study. An online guide is available at www.careers.govt.nz
The Guide provides a list of tertiary providers fully accredited to offer these nationally recognised qualifications. Each of the 2015 qualifications shown in the Guide leads to teacher registration.
The government regularly reviews qualifications, which are re-approved by the New Zealand Teachers Council. Since information, requirements and other details are subject to changes, readers will do well to visit the relevant websites or call the appropriate officials to receive updated information.
The Government is introducing post-graduate qualifications for entry to the teaching profession in New Zealand, both in the compulsory schooling and Early Childhood sectors, and in English and Maorimedium.
Some courses are already available in Primary and in Secondary teaching, in English medium. A few more courses and programmes are likely to be available in 2015, subject to programme and qualification approval by the New Zealand Teachers Council and the Committee on University Academic Programmes.
For further information about Postgraduate qualifications in initial teacher education can be found at www.minedu.govt.nz
There is a wide range of study options, including full-time and part-time study, field-based, centre-based and campus-based programmes of study and distance learning opportunities. Recognition of prior learning and experience may be available for qualifications that take longer than one year.
The government considers applications on a case-by-case basis.
Many tertiary providers recommend bridging or foundation qualifications for aspiring Early Childhood teachers who don’t meet the entry criteria for their qualifications.
These programmes of study, which can be up to one year in length, prepare students for tertiary study and give an indication of whether a student is capable of sustaining interest and effort for a longer period of tertiary study.
They also help students who have other commitments, such as family or work responsibilities, to determine if further tertiary study is a possibility. Tertiary education providers will assist with further information on bridging, introductory or foundation qualifications.
Talking to registered early childhood teachers can be a great help in making your decision to enter teaching. Contact ECE services in your area and ask for an opportunity to speak with an early childhood teacher about their work with infants, toddlers and young children.
Source: Teach NZ