Early Childhood Teacher Kaiako Kōhungahunga
Early childhood teachers educate and care for young children in kindergartens, kōhanga reo or childcare centres. Kōhanga reo kaiako also help children learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori (culture and customs).
Early childhood teachers need to be registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a current practising certificate.
- Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website - information on early childhood teacher registration and certification
Early childhood teachers may do some or all of the following:
- educate and care for babies and children
- help prepare meals, clean and tidy up, give medicines and change nappies
- plan daily programmes, learning experiences and routines for children
- make or adapt learning resources
- implement Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
- assess and record the learning and development of each child
- discuss children's progress with their parents or caregivers, whānau and other education professionals
- run workshops for parents, caregivers and whānau
- attend social gatherings and hui
- prepare budgets, order supplies, and help manage the centre.
Kōhanga reo kaiako must ensure the education and care they provide benefits children's te reo Māori (language) and tikanga Māori (culture and customs) development.
Special Education Teacher
To become a special education teacher you need two or more years of early childhood teaching experience and full teacher registration. You must also complete a postgraduate qualification in the area of special education you want to teach in.
- Education.govt.nz website - information on careers in special education
- Education.govt.nz website - information on learning support study awards for teachers
Early childhood teachers need to be reasonably fit and healthy.
Useful experience for early childhood teachers includes:
- babysitting or childcare work
- child counselling
- work with people with disabilities
- school holiday programme work
- working with children through groups such as Brownies and Scouts
- coaching sports teams.
Early childhood teachers need to be:
- skilled at communicating clearly with children and adults from a range of backgrounds and cultures
- organised, and good at solving problems quickly
- enthusiastic, open-minded and able to motivate children
- creative and adaptable
- able to work well under pressure
- firm and fair, with a sense of humour
- able to work well in a team
- committed to the kōhanga reo kaupapa (Māori language nest concept), if working in kōhanga reo.
Early childhood teachers need to have knowledge of:
- different teaching methods and learning styles
- Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
- how to plan lessons and evaluate children's progress
- behaviour management techniques, such as establishing boundaries and rewarding positive behaviour
- safety and emergency procedures
- food preparation and hygiene
- child learning and development, and early literacy and numeracy.
Kōhanga reo kaiako also need to be competent in te reo Māori (language), and knowledgeable about tikanga Māori (culture and customs).
Early childhood teachers:
- work 35 to 40 hours a week, depending on whether they are employed in a kindergarten, childcare centre or kōhanga reo
- work indoors and outdoors at early childhood services
- may take children on local trips to places such as marae, museums and playgrounds.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include health education, home economics, music, dance and drama, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking combined and te reo Māori.
Early childhood teachers may progress into management roles such as head teacher or senior teacher/tumuaki.
They may also progress into:
- policy work
- teaching trainee teachers in universities or polytechnics
- youth or community work.
Kōhanga reo kaiako may use their knowledge of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori to move into training and policy roles.
Years Of Training3-4 years of training required.
Entry requirements for early childhood teachers
To become an early childhood teacher you need to have one of the following:
- Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
- Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).
Entry requirements for kōhanga reo kaiako
To become a kōhanga reo kaiako, you need to have one of the following:
- Bachelor of Education (Whakaako) Early Childhood Education Whariki Papatipu (Level 7)
- Heke Whakaakoranga (Level 5)
- Poutuarongo Reo Māori (Level 7)
- Te Tohu Paetahi Whakaato Kōhungahunga (Te Reo Māori) (Level 7)
- Whakapakarai Tino Rangatiratanga (Level 7).
You also need to be registered with the Teaching Council and have a current practising certificate, renewable every three years.
Some early childhood centres allow you to start as a trainee teacher so that you earn your Bachelor of Teaching while working.
Early childhood teacher scholarships for course fees and allowances are available for specific subjects, regions, and sectors such as kōhanga reo and Pacific language pre-schools.
Vulnerable Children Act
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.