South Wairarapa communities will have the option to study locally this year, with UCOL set to run an Early Childhood Education programme in Martinborough from August.
The successful National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 3 programme is a one semester full-time programme that covers health, safety and nutrition; caring for young children; development and learning; and how to develop educational programmes for infants, toddlers and young children.
UCOL Executive Dean Humanities and Business Dean Rankin says the programme will continue to run at UCOL's Masterton and Palmerston North campuses with an additional stream delivered in Martinborough from Semester two this year, at the Martinborough Playcentre on Venice Street three days a week.
"Access to education has been limited for people living in South Wairarapa for whom travel to Masterton for study is not possible due to limited transport services or high petrol costs. As the main tertiary provider in the Wairarapa region, UCOL has a responsibility to develop learning opportunities to areas that are under-resourced to meet the community's needs."
"Our delivery of this programme in Martinborough will remove the barrier of travel, and provide the opportunity to develop a strengths-based, family context learning environment."
Graduates of this programme will be suitable for early childhood centres and kōhanga reo in the South Wairarapa, including outreach centres. There would also be the option for graduates to staircase to the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) currently offered by Open Polytechnic with support from UCOL Wairarapa.
It is hoped that bringing the nationally recognised qualification to South Wairarapa will allow for the identification and development of other UCOL programmes in the area.
UCOL is looking to secure centres in South Wairarapa for placement of students for the practicum component of the programme (with each student requiring 110 hours of placement).
Martinborough local Teresa Aporo completed the National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care through UCOL's Masterton campus in 2013, and is supportive of the new delivery from Martinborough.
"I am passionate about improving outcomes for whanau and am one of the first of my whanau to gain a national tohu. I embraced the opportunity to study and quickly established confidence in my own abilities and beliefs. I think the programme being available in Martinborough for students living in outreach areas of South Wairarapa will be very positive."
Teresa was placed at Dot Kids in Martinborough for her practical placement and is still employed by the Centre three years on.
Anna Hull, President of Martinborough Playcentre, where the UCOL programme will run from, says "the Playcentre community is happy to support, and believe that an early childhood environment is a fantastic venue for such a programme".
Enrolments are open now for the programme starting August in Martinborough.