High demand for qualified EC teachers

4 December 2017

Tauranga-based Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) student, Charlotte Hartley, works part time in a local EC centre.

In a pre-election interview in September, Jacinda Ardern voiced her view on the importance of quality teaching: “Whenever I think about what we do in education, I think about putting the best possible teachers in front of kids.”

The University of Waikato’s Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education wholeheartedly endorses the now Prime Minister’s statement and is particularly pleased with the proposed policy return to an emphasis on fully qualified teachers in Early Childhood Education (ECE). The Faculty has been at the vanguard of research into best pedagogical practice over many years, with that research informing the writing of the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum, Te Whāriki, which is used in early childhood centres as a framework for teaching and learning.

It is no surprise then that the University of Waikato Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) is considered one of the premier qualifications of its kind in the country. Tauranga-based Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Education Jayne White, says that students of the programme are perfectly placed to reap the rewards that research-led teaching offers. “Our students learn from an exceptionally experienced group of lecturers, world-renowned in their specialist fields. With all of our graduates over the past two years gaining employment in ECE or related fields, or going on to our lively postgraduate programme, the quality of the degree speaks for itself.”

These sentiments are echoed by Peter Monteith, Principal of Inspired Kindergartens, Ngā Kōhungahunga Manawanui (previously Tauranga Region Kindergartens), the Bay of Plenty’s largest and longest serving early childhood education providers. Indeed, so impressed is the group with the calibre of Waikato teaching graduates that it has a MOU in development with the University to be their provider of student teacher placements from 2018.

Monteith explains: “We look for graduates who have been trained in relational practice and who therefore understand the importance of the teacher-child relationship and have the ability to engage in project work alongside the children. The Bachelor of Teaching programme focuses on teaching and learning, as opposed to curriculum knowledge, and we find these graduates also understand education in its broader sense, to include family and whānau.”

Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) student Charlotte Hartley has just completed her second year in Tauranga, having previously worked unqualified in an early childhood centre. She says that the degree has changed her teaching practice entirely and she is effusive in her praise of the way the course is delivered. “The degree has changed me on so many levels. I have developed a strong pedagogical understanding and I have been trained in the strategies for assessing children and noticing, recognising and responding to the learning that is happening in the moment.” Charlotte has found the Tauranga learning environment to be very personal, with a diverse range of students who learn from each other. “We mix with social work, psychology and primary teaching students and we are always comparing our studies and learning from each other. The degree gives me the flexibility to pick up part time work and juggle the demands of being a mum.”

The Bachelor of Teaching degree is offered at both the Tauranga and Hamilton campuses of the University of Waikato and online. For more information, have a look at our website or email or call 0800 83 22 42 or +64 7 838 4500. For Tauranga enquiries, please email or call +64 7 557 8921.