Duration in Weeks:
For Amber Leech, studying early childhood education allows for valuable opportunities to explore New Zealand’s rich bicultural heritage.
“I have lived in Aotearoa my whole life and have never known about the history of our country or how we came to be a bicultural nation. I am really enjoying learning about the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as te ao Māori throughout my Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) studies with New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC).
“Sometimes I even use tikanga practices outside my centre as I just love the deeper meanings behind them. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of our bicultural nation has grown my identity as a teacher and as a New Zealand citizen.”
Support from NZTC has given Amber the confidence to aim high, with plans to become a team leader in the future.
“NZTC has been amazing to study with! There is always support available and lecturers are really responsive. I use the discussion forums and eMessaging functions, and if I’m really stuck, I just ring the college and speak to a lecturer as sometimes verbal explanations can make all the difference.
“When I reach out to NZTC, they always make me feel like a priority.”
Now in her final year of study, Amber feels she is “so lucky” to play a significant part in the lives of her tamariki.
“I am now realising as an ECE teacher I get to watch these children grow up; from crawling to riding bikes, from babbling to negotiating, from needing their favourite teacher to waving goodbye as they transition to schooling.
“I get to be such a big influence in those early years, and that is something really special to me.”
Amber currently has her sights set on continuing to develop her commitment to te ao Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi, as she strives to strengthen her identity as a kaiako.
“I aim to spend more time learning the language to better support our Māori learners. A personal goal for my teaching career is to eventually speak te reo Māori fluently.”