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


Dunedin Campus

17 weeks full-time; part-time not available

On campus with work placements (115 hours)

Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 July 2021
  • Dunedin
    18 July 2022
    3 October 2022 - 14 October 2022

Educators are always in demand and teaching skills are highly transferable.

Working with children is a rewarding, fun and diverse career and this certificate will prepare you for employment in the early childhood sector.

This Level 4 programme includes 115 hours of work placements in various early childhood settings. You'll learn how to practice as an inclusive educator, promoting diversity and the place of Māori as tangata whenua.

Career opportunities include a Childcare Support Worker, Childcare Worker, Home-based Carer or Nanny. This programme can also act as a pathway into higher level learning, leading to a teaching qualification to widen your employment options.

Entry requirements 

Academic requirements 

Special entry

  • 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. 

Other requirements

  • Learners must be at least 17 years old. 
  • 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 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 
    • supply the contact details of two referees who are willing to give a confidential report. Referees must be over 16 and cannot be related to you, be a partner/spouse/friend or live at the same address as you.
    • attend an informal interview to discuss your suitability for working with children in the community. 

English Language requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes

Courses and work placements

You will undertake 115 hours of work placements in various early childhood settings. 


1. Sociocultural 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. Bicultural 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 support team  

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.   

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