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Certificate in Early Childhood Studies

CertificateFull time - 34 weeks

Annual Fees(indicative 2017)

Programme code



$4,800 - $5,100






Course related costs

Textbooks and any stationery required



Domestic Applications due

Received all year

International Applications due

Please enquire


Christchurch - Madras Street and Timaru


Working with children is a rewarding, challenging, fun and diverse career. This introductory programme helps you gain the core skills and knowledge to prepare you to undertake the higher level learning required for employment in the early childhood sector.

A section of this programme is practical and includes work placement in early childhood centres. You will learn through the guidance of a supportive tutor in a practical learning environment.

If you would like to extend your qualification after graduation, you may wish to pathway onto the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) offered by Open Polytechnic. This is a correspondence programme which allows students to use our library facilities, as well as be supported in study by a tutor.

Please be aware that the Teachers Council of New Zealand have specific entry criteria relating to teacher education programmes. Open Polytechnic does not meet the requirements for international students.

This programme covers:

  • Health and safety
  • Development in early childhood
  • Parenthood in early childhood
  • Learning through play
  • Planning for learning
  • Guidance strategies
  • Professional practice
  • Agency experience and field work
  • First aid
  • Contextualised numeracy and literacy skills for the early childhood sector

This programme is also offered for Youth Guarantee students. You can apply for these options if you're 16 to 19 years of age and no longer at school, or if you're planning on leaving school.

From 2018, this programme will be replaced with two separate six-month qualifications that are currently under development. The New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) will start at the beginning of 2018, followed by the New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4) commencing in July 2018.

Credit recognition

Credit recognition is available for this programme; if you have related skills, knowledge and/or experience, it may count towards part or even all of the qualification.

To learn more about credit recognition please see our Centre For Assessment of Prior Learning.

Programme structure

To complete this Certificate you are required to complete a minimum total of 120 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
    • Entry into the Certificate in Early Childhood Studies (Level 3) programme is limited to students 17 years and over.
    • For entry to this certificate it is desirable you have a minimum (or equivalent) of 36 NCEA credits at Level 1, made up of at least 12 credits in english, at least 12 credits in maths and a minimum of 12 credits in at least one other subject.
Alternative requirements
    • Applications from mature students (over 20 years) are welcome.
    • If you don't have the stated entry criteria, talk to us about whether you have the equivalent skills and knowledge or to determine if this is the right programme for you.
Additional requirements
    • An informal interview will be held prior to acceptance to assess suitability for working with children in the community, current experience working with children, a friendly outgoing manner and a willingness to learn.
    • Applicants will be required to complete a police record check.
English requirements










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Next steps

To apply for this programme please complete an Admission and Enrolment form or an International Application form.

Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Career opportunities

Graduates are able to seek work as a child care support worker, a home based carer or a nanny.