Teacher-led centres are centres that care for children in the absence of parents. These include kindergartens, early learning and daycare centres, and centres with a special philosophy such as Rudolf Steiner education or a special purpose such as providing a Christian education.
A large body of empirical research looking at the effects of childcare on child outcomes has shown staff training in early child development and education (not primary education) to be one of the strongest variables of quality. Therefore every child attending a teacher-led service should be cared for and taught by a qualified adult (this may be with the assistance of unqualified adults counted outside of the minimum regulated adult:child ratio).
Note that the Education Act requires sessional kindergartens to maintain 100% qualified teachers and so any sessional kindergarten will meet this standard. However all centres owned by kindergarten associations have now changed to all-day licences and no longer hold a sessional licence.
A ‘certificated teacher’ is a holder of a current provisional, 'subject to confirmation' or full practising certificate that has been issued by the New Zealand Teaching Council. For centre funding purposes, ’certificated teachers’ are defined as ECE and primary qualified teachers who hold a practising certificate from the Teaching Council.
Home-based services are the same as teacher-led centres in respect of the importance of the adult having early childhood teacher training, since the home-based educator is a worker and not a parent or family member of the child. Without a recognised teaching qualification home-based educators are effectively caregivers or babysitters.
However, home-based educators are not required by law to hold an ECE recognised teaching qualification. A higher ‘quality’ rate of public funding is given to an agency when all educators contracted to or working for it have completed a Level 3 or higher qualification and at least 5 credits (maximum of 60 children in the licence) or at least 15 credits (maximum of 80 children in the licence) of a Level 4 ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications, or are a NZ qualified primary school teacher. Qualifications gained at Level 3 or 4 are low-level ones compared to an ECE teaching diploma or degree at Level 7 on the Qualifications Framework.
All visiting teachers must be ECE qualified and hold a practising certificate.
New Zealand Playcentres provide ECE training for parents and have other requirements that mean children are likely to receive a high level of appropriate support and learning opportunities from adults.
Hospital-based ECE services operate from hospital premises and provide education and care only to children who are patients of that hospital. Hospital-based ECE staff usually all hold an ECE recognised teaching qualification and may also be trained hospital play specialists or hold nursing or other medical qualifications. The number of actual hospital-based ECE licensed services is small.
Te Kōhanga Reo
The objective of te kōhanga reo early childhood services is to teach and pass on Māori language and culture. Thus the suitability and qualification requirements for adults who work with children and their families in kōhanga reo must reflect the objective.
Parents and other whānau are involved in te kōhanga reo and each kōhanga is responsible for checking the competency of adults in te reo Māori and their suitability to work with children. Kōhanga whānau are also supported to undertake training in Te Ara Tuatahi and Te Ara Tuarua to support the acquisition and use of te reo Māori by whānau in the home and in the kōhanga reo.
Tino Rangatiratanga Whakapakari Tohu is the teaching qualification for te kōhanga reo kaiako (teachers).
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