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 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.

Physical Requirements

Early childhood teachers need to be reasonably fit and healthy.

Useful Experience

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.

Personal Qualities

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.

Useful Experience

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.

Subject Recommendations

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, te reo Māori.

Early Childhood Teachers can earn around $46K-$70K per year per year.

Early childhood teachers may move into management roles such as head teacher, or move into work outside the school system such as:

  • 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.

Early Childhood Teacher