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Infants & Toddlers care and education in an Aotearoa New Zealand context

Examine learning and development practices for infants and toddlers, focusing on education and wellbeing in bicultural contexts.

Young girl with prosthetic leg, learning and developing with building blocks

Learn from the experts in early childhood development at Te Rito Maioha ECNZ

As more young children enter group care or live in complex family situations, educators and care providers need to enhance their understanding of the specialised nature of care and education for infants and toddlers.

On this three-week course, you’ll explore infant and toddler learning, development, and wellbeing, with a particular focus on bicultural contexts.

Discover how the first thousand days are key to children’s development

An infant’s brain develops quicker during the first thousand days of its life, than at any other time.

You’ll examine this crucial period of early childhood, identifying key factors that impact a child’s early development, mental health, and wellbeing.

Using this knowledge, you’ll contextualise the importance of early years curriculum development.

Develop an optimum learning environment for infants and toddlers

Optimum learning environments encourage infants and toddlers to become curious and engaged learners.

On this course, you’ll critically examine a bicultural curriculum, exploring education systems from an Aotearoa New Zealand perspective.

By doing so, you’ll be able to develop diverse educational frameworks for young children, focusing on those in group care settings.

Examine early years teaching and learning practices and pedagogy

Building on learning from previous weeks, you’ll explore key research relating to infant and toddler development.

You’ll explore pedagogical theories and practices and be able to discuss the advantages of different approaches within your own educational context.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand early childhood educational practices in diverse contexts. Using key research and approaches, you’ll be able to develop optimum learning environments for the children in your own setting.


  • Week 1

    The First Thousand Days

    • Welcome to the course

      A warm welcome and cultural blessing to welcome you into the course. Meet your course educators and view tools we will use throughout the course

    • The importance of the first thousand days

      With greater engagement of infants and toddlers in group early learning setting specialist knowledge and understandings of this age group is imperative.

    • Cultural practice

      Let’s explore traditional cultural practices and their relevance for mainstream early childhood education.

    • Infant & Toddler teacher accountability

      Explore who kaiako are accountable to and what they are accountable for. Where are the infants and toddlers positioned in this, and how are you implicated?

    • Recap of learning

      What have we learnt this week?

  • Week 2

    Teaching and Learning

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Raewyn and Bridgette reflect on our learning from week 1 and discuss what is coming up this week.

    • Environments for infants and toddlers

      While the environment is often talked about as being the ‘third’ teacher what does this mean for infants and toddlers. Let’s have a look at some ideas.

    • A bicultural curriculum

      In this section, you will be introduced to the national early childhood curriculum of Aotearoa New Zealand, a uniquely bicultural document.

    • Assessment - Learning stories

      How a noticing, recognising and responding framework can be used to assess the learning of infants and toddlers.

    • E-Portfolios

      Now we have looked at a narrative form of assessment, we are going to see how digital technology can enhance the experience for the whole whānau (family)

    • Recap of learning

      What new knowledge have we gained this week?

  • Week 3

    Researchers and their research

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Raewyn and Bridgette discuss what is coming up this week.

    • Research and its importance for infant and toddler kaiako

      In this section, we will discover how research can inform, support and enhance your pedagogy.

    • Looking at Aotearoa New Zealand-based research

      Now you know the importance of research to your pedagogy, let’s discover some recent research that focuses on the infant and toddler area.

    • Concluding the course

      Our journey has come to an end. Bridgette and Raewyn wish you well and hope to see you embark on further study that embraces and celebrates infants and toddlers.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on theories and approaches that influence infant and toddler development, care, and education.
  • New Zealand's bicultural infant and toddler curriculum.
  • knowledge of assessment of infant and toddler learning.
  • contemporary infant and toddler research.
  • with other participants in a community of practice.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers, social workers, and other professionals with an interest in supporting infant and toddler learning, development, and wellbeing.

Who will you learn with?

I am the Kaiārahi Hōtaka/ Programme Leader for the Postgraduate Diploma in Infant and Toddler Learning and Development at Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand.

M.B.A. Regional Education Leader with Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood N.Z. for the Christchurch region. Lecturer in the Postgraduate Diploma in Infant and Toddler Learning and Development.

Who developed the course?

Te Rito Maioha ECNZ

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) specialises in early childhood teacher education, offering a range of diploma, degree and postgraduate programmes. We are one of the largest early childhood teacher education providers in New Zealand, with more than 700 students of all ages and from all walks of life enrolled with us at any one time. Some of our students are new to early childhood education (ECE) and study, while others have been working in ECE for many years.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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