Early Childhood Education

Gain a rewarding career developing young minds ranging from birth through to the age of six.

Give kids the best start in life

Did you know that New Zealand was the first country to develop an early childhood education curriculum? Combine that with a qualification from New Zealand’s leading university and you’ll be poised for an exciting global career.

The first years of a child’s life are important developmental years and as an early childhood teacher you will play a critical role in helping young children with their learning, identity and exploration of the world around them.

As an early childhood teacher, you will work collaboratively with families to support young children with their learning, development and growth from birth to when they are six years old.

By studying one of Early Childhood Education programmes you will be introduced to the study of education, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum - Te Whāriki - and effective teaching practice. There is a strong emphasis placed on gaining practical experience in a range of early childhood services and you will learn skills to work effectively with children in order to creative positive learning experiences for them.

Sector outlook

Employment prospects for the early childhood education (ECE) sector are strong.  There is also consistent demand for early childhood teachers who are speakers of Māori and Pacific languages.

Job options (teaching)

Many Early Childhood Education (ECE) graduates go on to teach in early childhood in New Zealand or overseas. ECE teachers can also pursue a variety of other roles in the teaching sector:

  • Leadership or management roles at ECE centres (creches, kindergartens, daycares)
  • Youth / community work
  • Policy development
  • Academic research
  • Training future teachers

Job options (outside teaching)

Our ECE programmes provide transferable skills that can be applied to a range of other careers:

  • Education consulting
  • Early childhood psychology
  • Learning design
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Professional development
  • Hospital and special needs specialists

Salary benefits

ECE teacher salaries have good growth potential. Base salaries increase significantly as teachers gain more experience in their role and take on additional responsibilities.

If you already have a bachelors degree, studying the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) will make you eligible to start on a higher salary in services covered by the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) teaching collective agreement for early childhood education teachers.

Working abroad

The University of Auckland has ECE graduates working all over the world including the Middle East, UK, Canada, the Pacific and Asia.

There are numerous agencies that specialise in recruiting graduates from New Zealand to work overseas.

Teaching abroad offers exposure to new challenges and experiences in teaching. New Zealand teacher education courses adequately prepare students for teaching abroad, and the more experience you have, the better equipped you will be to teach abroad.

Recognition of ECE qualifications in Australia

The Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood Education specialisation and the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE) are recognised and approved by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

Graduates who have been awarded these qualifications will not have to apply to ACECQA individually to teach in Australia.*

*Applies to GradDipTchg(ECE) qualifications awarded from July 2005 onwards, and the BEd(Tchg) ECE specialisation awarded from 2008 onwards.