Early Childhood Teacher Education


Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)
Bachelor of Teaching and Learning with Honours
Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching
Master of Teaching and Learning

Early childhood laboratory with Erskine fellow


Working in early childhood education will offer you a challenging and rewarding career. You will enhance the lives of infants, toddlers and young children, and provide support for whānau in the important task of parenting/caregiving. The early years of a child's life have a critical impact on their lifelong development; high-quality learning experiences within those years lay the foundations for all later learning.

UC offers flexible delivery options and caters for both those embarking on a first degree or graduates in this field. See below under 'courses' for more information.

Now is a particularly good time to get into early childhood teaching as there are many scholarships for students enrolling in Early Childhood Teacher Education programmes. Find out more on the Teach NZ website

See the appropriate qualification page for information on entry requirements and the application process:


Early Childhood qualifications at UC have four components:

  1. In Education you will learn about the aims and purposes of education, child development, teaching and learning, assessment, the New Zealand education system, socio-political and cultural contexts, communication skills, information skills, and contemporary issues in education.
  2. In Professional Inquiry and Professional Practice you will learn practical teaching skills and spend time working in an early childhood setting alongside an experienced teacher. You will also be visited by a lecturer who will observe and discuss your progress. The degree includes two blocks of Professional Practice in first year (one for two weeks and another for four weeks) and two blocks of up to five weeks in each of the second and third years.
  3. In Curriculum Studies you will learn about Te Whāriki – the Early Childhood Curriculum. Students gain pedagogical knowledge (knowledge about the theory of teaching), and skills required to teach effectively within an integrated curriculum.
  4. We continue to extend the professional practice opportunities and multicultural competencies for Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood) students by offering international teaching/learning opportunities, mainly in the Pacific and in Asia. These experiences give students first-hand exposure to alternative early childhood settings in another culture.

For the most up-to-date list of courses for each qualification, go to the University Regulations website.

Flexible Learning Option (FLO)

The Early Childhood FLO is available to Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (EarlyChildhood) students throughout the country. Students must be able to attend up to two on-site intensives, one of which is a two week on-site intensive at the beginning of the programme. This will be held in Christchurch unless you are enrolled in the regional programme in New Plymouth. Courses integrate web-based material, audiovisual resources, video conferences and email. Students also attend professional practice placements in early childhood education centres for up to ten weeks per year. See the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (EarlyChildhood) for more information on this distance learning option.

Graduate Options

The Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching and the Master of Teaching and Learning cater for students who hold a university degree and offer a one-year pathway into early childhood teaching:

  • the graduate diploma can be studied full-time for one year or part-time over three years and is offered by distance
  • the master's will equip participants with research-based knowledge and inquiry skills, the ability to support diverse student learning and the expertise essential to New Zealand schools in the 21st century.

Students are required to attend professional practice placements in early childhood centres throughout their studies, as arranged by the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

Career opportunities

Working in early childhood places you in the middle of the fun, challenging and ultra-important world of caring for infants, toddlers and children. This is an interactive and collaborative profession where teamwork is highly valued, which can enhance your job satisfaction too.

Early childhood teachers who graduate from UC are highly respected and find roles in early learning centres, childcare centres (public and private), kindergartens, kōhanga reo, hospitals and government agencies.

Our graduates leave with first-rate teaching skills that have been tried and tested in various settings while on placement throughout their studies. The applied knowledge of different teaching strategies, learning styles and knowledge of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, prepares skilled graduates who will succeed in facilitating the development and learning of infants, toddlers and young children in their vital years.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Early Childhood Teaching.

More information

College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora

Phone +64 3 369 3333
Email education@canterbury.ac.nz

Ōrakipaoa, Dovedale Avenue - see campus maps

Postal address
College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora
University of Canterbury | 
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Fleur Kay

Fleur Kay

'I love the natural curiosity, passion and excitement that children display in their learning...'

Mikaela Singleton

Mikaela Singleton

'Canterbury was the most supportive of my wish to do this degree...'