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

Level 4

Interested in working with infants toddlers or young children? Study UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care.

A UCOL student in an early childhood centre playing with a young child
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: Palmerston North, Wairarapa

Duration: 19 weeks, full-time

Palmerston North
19 Feb 2018 - 29 Jun 2018
23 Jul 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

23 Jul 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees:*
$3,196.50Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*
Please enquire for details

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care will provide you with the opportunity pathway into a rewarding career caring for infants, toddlers and young children.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care will be able to:

  • understand key early childhood socio-cultural theories of learning and development to inform and guide the holistic development and learning of children in an early childhood setting;
  • use knowledge of multiculturalism, family diversity, and the bicultural nature of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum framework, Te Whāriki, to plan, provide and review enriching learning experiences for infants, toddlers, and young children;
  • contribute to providing a culturally inclusive early childhood environment to foster the health, holistic well-being, and care of infants, toddlers, and young children;
  • communicate effectively and engage in respectful, reciprocal, and responsive relationships within an early childhood education and care community;
  • implement strategies to manage personal health, wellbeing, and professional development in an early childhood setting;
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of legislation and regulatory requirements, and how community and government services impact on early childhood settings and guide practices, to protect and support the wellbeing of children and families;
  • understand the diverse philosophical and cultural contexts and approaches informing early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand to develop a personal philosophy of practice;
  • implement bicultural early childhood education practice and promote awareness of Māori as tangata whenua, through using te reo Māori and tikanga Māori with infants, toddlers, young children and families/whānau in early childhood settings.

Education pathway

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

Employment opportunities include working in a range of early childhood education settings as educators (teachers), Kaimahi, support workers, session leaders or organisers in parent-led services or playgroups including Pasifika and Māori.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Teachers.

 Course Information

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care covers the following topics:

  • Learning and Development Theories
  • Culture and Identity
  • Professional and Ethical Principles and Practices
  • Early Childhood Practicum

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2;


the New Zealand/National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) 


equivalent academic achievement on a case-by-case basis;


at the discretion of the Executive Dean.

Students must authorise UCOL to obtain a background check from the New Zealand Police Licensing and Vetting Agency. If a conviction and/or a matter of concern is identified, the decision for accepting the applicant’s enrolment onto the programme is at the discretion of the Head of School.

UCOL will undertake a safety check of all students to ensure UCOL meets the legislative requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act, 2014.  UCOL will do this on behalf of early childhood education institutions and providers of private childcare placements hosting UCOL students.  The safety check involves confirming the student’s work history, verifying their suitability to work with children with a trusted referee, and completing New Zealand Police vetting. 


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English Proficiency Entry Requirements
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent, including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band lower than 5. IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4) comprises 60 credits.

Full attendance is encouraged to maximise learning opportunities and to optimise success for students. Completion of this programme is required within three years of the date of first enrolment.

Work experience
Students will be placed in an early childhood setting organised by UCOL to achieve the required 60 hours of practicum.

Work placements and successful completion of the programme are dependent on a satisfactory police check and UCOL’s ability to place students successfully.

Off-campus learning
Noho marae.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a commitment of:
  • On-campus tutorials
  • Self-directed learning (your own time spent on research and study to complete your written assignments)
  • 60 hours of practicum placement
Recognition of Prior Learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Completed Police Declaration Form
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4) as follows:

The following books are available from leading book stores including textbooksRus.
  • Clark, B. & Grey, A. (ED.). (2010). Āta Kitea Te Pae – Scanning the horizon. Perspectives on early childhood education. North Shore, New Zealand: Pearson. Approximate cost $64.00
  • Drewery, W. & Claibourne, L. (2014). Human Development: Family, place and culture (2nd ed.). Australia: McGraw-Hill Education Pty Ltd. Approximate cost $100.00


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.