National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3)

Are you imaginative, creative, patient and caring? The next generation of young children need you! Attitudes to learning, life and people are all formed during a child’s earliest years. They need teachers who will help them develop communication and social skills, independence and understandings of the wider world outside their immediate family.

This is an ideal course if you have low secondary school qualifications and want a taste of what the Early Childhood Education sector is like.

You’ll study five introductory courses over the 17 week semester.

Graduates can then pursue entry-level ECE roles, or use the confidence gained during the course to carry on with higher level qualifications.

Content Details

Topics include:

Course 1 - Family, Whanau and Community
Develop a broad knowledge of cultural diversity in New Zealand/Aotearoa and understand how to communicate and form functional relationships with diverse families and children. You’ll be able to identify and understand how various organisations operate and support the early childhood education (ECE) sector.

Course 2 - Introduction to Human Development
Understand the basic needs of children and gain an introductory knowledge of how a child learns and develops. You’ll understand the reality of children transitioning into an ECE service and how attachment and separation issues can be managed.

Course 3 - Introduction to Health and Safety
Understand the overall importance of health and safety in an ECE setting, both for yourself as a practitioner and for the children under your care. You will be able to demonstrate knowledge of safe practices and healthy age-related nutrition.

Course 4 - Introduction to Working with Children
Enhance your understanding of the value of play in terms of learning and development, and learn to create appropriate resources for children in an ECE setting. You’ll also learn the value of correctly observing a child, and be able to put that knowledge into practice.

Course 5 - Introduction to Best Practice
Develop your understanding of how being professional is essential to being a successful educator. Gain understanding and knowledge of Te Whäriki, and learn how to develop and implement learning plans in alignment with the curriculum for children in an ECE setting.


Planned intakes*: February
Delivery modes: Full-time
Locations*: Tauranga (Windermere Campus)
Duration: 17 weeks

* subject to change. Intakes may vary between locations.

The course is 17 weeks with classes scheduled between Monday and Friday, 8.00am to 3.00pm. You are also required to undertake self-directed study beyond scheduled class time.

To see full details of the next available intake please visit the application form.

Indicative Fees

2018 domestic students $2,552.00

2018 International students $10,474.00

*This course is eligible for Youth Guarantee

The fee shown for domestic students is applicable to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. If an international fee is not listed above please refer to the international fees page. All fees are indicative only and subject to change.

You MAY be eligible for a StudyLink Student Loan for your tuition fees.

Find out if your programme qualifies by visiting the Studylink website.

If you also need to pay course related costs, i.e. if outlined in programme costs above, you need to apply separately to StudyLink (up to $1,000/academic year for eligible students). Note course related costs are paid directly into your bank account by StudyLink and you will be required to pay this to Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Qualifications Gained

Upon successful completion of the course you will receive:

  • National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3)

Career Opportunities

  • Assistant caregiver
  • Nanny
  • Home-based educator

Study Pathways

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Pathways

Entry Criteria

To gain entry into this course, you must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 10 literacy credits at Level 1
  • At least 10 numeracy credits at Level 1, PLUS
  • At least 10 credits at Level 1 or above in any subject

Police Check

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology will undertake a Police check on prospective students. Student entry will be provisional until these checks have been completed. Outcome of checks will be kept on record.

Special Admission

Students who do not satisfy the standard academic entry requirements of a course will be considered for special admission if, in the opinion of the Programme Coordinator, they are capable of achieving the course outcomes.

Trades Academy Only

Applicants must meet any entry requirements identified in the Bay of Plenty Trades Academy Secondary-Tertiary Programme Guide.


International applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to show evidence of language competency, issued within the last two years, before being eligible to enrol in any non-English programme. The level of competency required is outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013. And below under the title English Competency.

English Competency

Level 3 certificate IELTS General or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L3 with an endorsement of either General, Workplace or Academic, or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined in Rule 18 and Appendix 2 of the NZQF Programme and Accreditation Rules 2013.

For domestic applicants for whom English is not their first language, evidence of language competency may be required.