New Zealand Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 5)

Thinking about becoming an early childhood educator?

This one-year course sets you up with the introductory skills to begin a career in early childhood education (ECE). You could become a non-registered educator in an early childhood setting, a home-based carer, or a nanny.

You find out how to enhance young children’s physical, social, cultural and educational development. You learn about the principles of the national early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and how to incorporate these into teaching and learning.

As part of the course you spend time on placement at an early childhood centre supervised by a registered teacher. We find the placements for you!

This course makes up the first year of our Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. By enrolling in the diploma first, you can see if teaching is for you. If you’re ready for higher-level study by the end of the course, you can then apply to move into the degree for the remaining two years.

Content Details

During the course, you'll study:

  • Ritenga  Mātanga Tuatahi:  Professional  Practice 1
  • Tauwhitiwhiti mō ngā kaiako kōhungahunga: Communication for ECE Teachers
  • Tīmatanga Marautanga: Introduction to Curriculum
  • Ngā Kōhungahunga: Infants and Toddlers
  • Ngā Rereketanga-Ahurea: Diversity
  • Te Reo me ōna Piringa: Language and Literacy
  • Ritenga  Mātanga Tuarua: Professional Practice 2
  • Te Puawai


Planned intakes*: February, July
Delivery modes: Full-time/part-time
Locations*: Rotorua (Mokoia Campus), Tauranga (Windermere Campus)
Duration: One year

* subject to change. Intakes may vary between locations.

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

Indicative Fees

2018 domestic fees $6,042.00

2018 international students $19,952.00

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 successfully completing the requirements you'll receive the award of:

  • New Zealand Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 5)

Career Opportunities

Early childhood educator in a range of early childhood contexts such as:

  • centre-based
  • hospital-based (play specialist assistant)
  • home-based
  • parent-led
  • as a nanny
  • culturally-based

Study Pathways

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Pathways

Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education

Alternative Pathways

  • Bachelor of Teaching (BTchg) Early Childhood. Please enquire direct with the University of Waikato: email

Entry Criteria - Summary

You must have:

  • NCEA Level 2 with passes in English/Te Reo Māori, OR
  • completed the New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3), OR
  • completed the New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4), OR
  • evidence of ability to meet academic requirements.



Two satisfactory character references are required which address the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand Good Character and Fit to be a Teacher Policy 2007.
These should be from persons in positions of trust or responsibility such as an employer, pastor, kaumātua or kuia.
References from family, friends or work colleagues will not be accepted.
Due to the requirements of the placement component of the course, you will need to be 17 years or older at the time of course commencement

Police Vetting                 

You'll be required to provide a signed consent form which allows Toi Ohomai to check your record of convictions on entry, during and prior to completing the course.
You'll be accepted only after the Police check is satisfactorily completed.
ALL candidates with ANY convictions will be required to attend an interview with the Programme Manager or staff member from the Education teaching team and may be declined entry depending on the severity, recency, age at offending and pattern of offending.


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 5 certificate or diploma IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language L4 with the Academic Endorsement 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.