Study early childhood education (ECE)

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

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Programme highlights

Get the skills and knowledge necessary for becoming a proficient educator.

On completion of this programme you will be able to provide and support the education and care of infants, toddlers, and young children in a range of early childhood contexts.

Students learn about early childhood education and curriculum in Aotearoa, human development and learning, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Te Ao Māori, belonging and well-being and professional relationships.

Spend up to three days a week learning with a blend of classroom and online experiences and activities. You will also spend two days per week (12 hours) in an early childhood centre where you will apply classroom theory to practical scenarios.

In Semester 1 you will spend one week full time (35 hours) in your home centre. In Semester 2 you will also experience a three-week full-time (105 hours) placement in another early childhood setting. This placement will be organised by the School of Education Practicum co-ordinator. Get real experience working in an early childhood setting with four weeks of full-time placement.

On successful completion of the diploma programme, you will be eligible under specified criteria, to pathway into the second year of the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Teaching) (Level 7).

Flexible study option

This programme has been developed to align with the first year of our Bachelor of Education (ECT) Degree. This programme does not lead to teacher registration, but it may provide opportunities for graduates, under specified criteria, to pathway into the second year of the degree. Students wanting to pathway to our Level 7 ECE initial teacher education qualification will need to; successfully complete this programme and meet all other entry criteria of the degree, including being interviewed and supplying new referee reports,  and those who are EAL achieving Academic IELTS 7 in all bands.

Key facts

Start month(s)

February, July

Study location(s)

MIT Ōtara

Level 5
Domestic fees

$6,500 (approx.)

Click here to see individual course fees

Youth Guarantee (fees-free*)

Not available

Click here to find out more

Programme code NZ2851

Full-time for 1 year (34 teaching weeks), part-time available.
The maximum time to complete this programme part-time is 3 years.

Study method

Full-time, Part-time

Credits 120
International fees NZD$22,000 (approx.)
Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarship (fees-free*)

Not available

Click here to find out more

Qualification leads to

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

Entry requirements

Academic admission requirements

Applicants under 20 years of age: NCEA level 2 or equivalent

Entry over 20 years of age: Applicants who are 20 years of age at the commencement of the programme and have relevant life and/or work experience do not have to meet the minimum academic requirements (with the exception of English Language criteria).

Safety checks

To satisfy the risk assessment and safety check required in compliance with the Vulnerable Children Act (2014) the following requirements are in place:

  1. Provide a New Zealand Police Check (using the NZ Police and Vetting Consent to Disclosure of Information form) that demonstrates that the applicant has no criminal record and thus meets the requirements to work with at-risk and vulnerable children as required by the Vulnerable Children Act (2014)
  2. Interviews will be conducted in person. Skype or other electronic means as outlined in the Vulnerable Children Act (2014) will be used where distance is an issue
  3. Sign a statement agreeing to the release of pertinent information relevant to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 that a Childcare centre may request
  4. Provide two satisfactory written referee reports
  5. Provide one photograph that meets the criteria defined by the New Zealand passport office:
English language entry requirements

Applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient competence in English language and literacy to undertake this programme.

  • Applicants for whom English is not their first language (including International students) must demonstrate that they meet an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Academic version minimum score of 5.5 with nothing lower than 5.0 in all components.
  • International students must further meet the English language requirements as specified by NZQA

Visit the IELTS test centre for more information.

Exempted case: EAL applicants who have completed the NZ Certificate in English Language (Professional/Academic) (Level 5).

Applicants who do not meet the IELTS requirement are able to re-apply for future intakes to the programme once this English language requirement has been met.

Provisional entry

Students who have attained the age of 20 years and do not hold the minimum entry requirements for a programme or training scheme may be eligible to be enrolled. Such decisions must consider any applicable pre-requisites and will be made by the Head of School. Students who have not attained the age of 20 years and do not hold the required minimum entry requirements may also be eligible to be enrolled in exceptional circumstances where they can demonstrate capability for study at the required level. Such decisions must consider any applicable pre-requisites and will be made by the Head of School.

International students

Test your English level to help you plan.

Take our free online English test to get a basic indication of your English level. This will help you understand what programmes you can apply for and what preparation you may require before you start your programme of study.


Book your British Council IELTS test with us.

You will complete your test in one day, plus get free online tuition to help you succeed. We offer paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS. Choose computer-delivered IELTS and get your results in 3-5 days.

Programme structure

You will need to complete the below five courses (120 credits):

922.501 Tikanga Māori and te Tiriti o Waitangi (20 credits)

Engage in bicultural ECE practice which reflects the principles inherent in te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and the place of Māori as Tangata Whenua.

902.530 Belonging, health and well-being (22 credits)

Learn about providing a healthy, safe environment for the protection, care and education of diverse learners. Consider how to apply professional standards, legal requirements and ethical principles in a socially culturally responsive manner to guide and support practice in an early childhood setting.

922.531 Learning and development 0-6 (20 credits)

Develop knowledge of key early childhood teaching, learning and development theories and approaches to inform and guide your practice in early learning settings of Aotearoa New Zealand.

922.532 Early childhood curriculum in Aotearoa (30 credits)

Promote learning by implementing the philosophy, principles, and practices embodied in the New Zealand early childhood curriculum framework Te Whāriki. Use knowledge of the history of early childhood in Aotearoa New Zealand to inform your developing personal professional philosophy of ECE practice.

922.533 Professional relationships (28 credits)

Learn about communicating effectively to develop and maintain collaborative relationships with a wide range of people in an early learning education and care community. You will develop an awareness of how to practice in a culturally responsive manner that is informed by children’s language, culture and identity as well as engaging in reflective practice.

Key dates and timetables

To find the key dates and timetables of this programme, please view the education calendar.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this qualification will have the skills and knowledge to work in a range of early childhood contexts, such as centre-based, hospital-based (play specialist assistant), home-based, nanny, parent-led, or culturally-based contexts including Pasifika or Māori. Graduates may provide supervision or guidance of volunteers or other staff, in some early childhood settings.  They may also be involved in voluntary roles in early childhood settings. For potential salaries visit

*This programme does not lead to New Zealand Teacher Certification, to gain this you must have a level 7 teaching qualification.

MIT is becoming Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, MIT will next year become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa. This means that while you’re applying with MIT now, from Semester 1, 2023 when you enrol you’ll become a Te Pūkenga learner.

The new system has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including the programme that you’ve enrolled with. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

As the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time. Rest assured that we’ll notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you’re studying, where you’re studying or the ways you’re learning.

Information is correct as at 12 August 2022. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2022 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2022 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2022 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2022 are based on the 2021 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2022. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology Limited is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.