Childcare students enjoy once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand


Childcare students at East Coast College embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand, spending two weeks learning about the Te Whariki approach by visiting nurseries and working with practitioners.

The Level One, Level Two and T Level Childcare students explored Auckland, the North Island and various nursery settings across New Zealand, putting into practice the teachings and philosophy of the Te Whariki curriculum based upon child-led learning, play-based development and taking safe risks.

The educational trip was made possible thanks to the Government’s Turing Scheme, with East Coast College securing further funding to allow students to continue to study across the globe.

Funding was also granted to send the college’s Health and Social Care students to Budapest later in the year to explore different approaches to health and preventative treatments, as well as Creative Art heading to Italy, Motor Vehicle to Germany, Travel and Tourism to Peru and Animal Care returning to South Africa, making East Coast one of the leading colleges in the region for providing students with international opportunities.

The group headed to New Zealand on 20th January and their time was split between multiple childcare settings including a floating classroom, as well as immersing themselves in the traditional Mauri culture by visiting sites including where the Waitangi treaty was signed.

East Coast College Curriculum Manager, Helene Quin, said: “Our students were immersed in a transformative cultural and academic experience that I am confident will change their lives and the lives of the children in the future.

“It was not just a trip; it was a fantastic opportunity for them to witness first-hand the differences and similarities between educational perspectives and helped deepen their understanding of pedagogical approaches to early years curriculums. Central to this experience was the immersive engagement with the Māori culture and traditions. Beyond this, our trip was marked by the forging of lasting friendships, the cultivation of teamwork and a passion for lifelong learning. Witnessing the growth and transformation of our students filled me with immense pride.”

The group explored the geothermal bubbling mud pools and geezers at Te Puia Geothermal Park as well as visiting St Eden, the tallest volcano in Auckland. They worked together to plan activities and meals, learning key life skills that will aid them in their next steps to university and in life.

Student Alicia Walton said: “My time in New Zealand learning the Te Whariki curriculum was life-changing and will help me with my pedagogy in the activities I plan. It has helped me further my knowledge and continue my professional development.”

Charley Frith, another Childcare student added: “My favourite part was learning about how different childcare is to the UK. Children have a lot of freedom by learning through play. The children are trusted with hot glue guns, hammers and glassware within the setting which helps them to develop self-confidence.”

East Coast College Assistant Principal, Holly Chase said: “This educational visit to New Zealand created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of childcare students to experience and bring to life international theoretical perspectives in early years which they have only had the opportunity to read about until now. This new knowledge will enhance their practice as early years educators as they begin their careers. In addition to this, the students were able to fully immerse themselves in the traditional cultures of New Zealand whilst visiting indigenous communities.”

Turing Scheme trips and many other exciting opportunities will continue to be offered to future students at East Coast College.