#1 GETTING A QUALIFICATION IS VITAL
While schoolteachers have needed a university degree for years, the care and education of children aged less than five was often provided by people with few or no qualifications, and care was often limited to feeding the kids, changing their nappies, and just plonking them in front of the TV. Times have changed! Early childhood centres, home-based caregivers and professional nannies are now required to educate children following a programme set down by the Ministry of Education. To do this, they need to be qualified and to understand patterns of child development and education.
#2 THERE ARE THREE MAIN WAYS TO GET THE QUALIFICATION YOU NEED
Option One: A three-year full time degree course: This is a good choice if you have gained University Entrance and enjoy academic study and essay writing. Classes are often big; you meet lots of people and get to enjoy the stimulating experience of university student life. After three years you’ve got a qualification that will last a lifetime. Part time study is offered by many providers, but of course it will take longer than three years for you to complete the degree!
Option 2: A one-year full time course; For example, the NZ Diploma in Early Childhood Education (L5) offered by several institutions around the country (including the Ashton Warner Academy in Stanmore Bay). You complete your qualification in just one year, which means that for most students your fees will be paid by the government and you won’t have to have a student loan. The course often has more practical hands- on learning than a degree course. You learn about child development theory and practice but there are no big final exams. Classes are often smaller, giving you more contact and support from your tutor. You usually need to have completed Year 12 and have had some experience with children (e.g. babysitting). The Diploma qualifies you to start work as an educator at an early childhood centre or work providing home-based care as a professional nanny. The qualification also gives you as much as full credit towards first year of a degree at some educational providers if you want to carry on towards a degree.
Option 3: A half-year entry-level course like the NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (L3) The Certificate can lead to employment as a teaching assistant in an early childhood centre or as a mother’s help. The half-year programme is a good starting point if you have found schoolwork difficult or are not confident about going back into education. It’s also a great preparation for higher-level qualifications.
#3 WHATEVER PROVIDER OR COURSE YOU CHOOSE HERE ARE SOME GOOD QUESTIONS TO
• How many people get jobs with children after they graduate?
• How many people leave without finishing your course?
• How much practical experience with children will l get?
• What are the class sizes?
Finally, it is a really good idea to talk with employers like early childhood centres, nanny agencies, and home-based care providers to see what courses and providers they recommend.
If you would like to ask for more advice about your options or would like an information pack about courses at the Ashton Warner Academy …. nannyacademy.ac.nz or text 0210409311