Teaching in the Cook Islands is very rewarding. Children are keen and eager to learn and provided the teacher has well planned and prepared lessons that cater for a range of abilities and interests – class management is usually not a problem. As English is the second language for a majority of Cook Island students, teachers must always be conscious of the vocabulary they are using when instructing – the complexity of sentences and the differences in meaning of the same word. All teachers are teachers of English but being able to also teach in the Maori language is a definite advantage.

Schools are open for a minimum of 200 days in the year. Classes usually run from 8:00 am (or earlier) till 2:30 or 3:00 pm; with primary schools opening for 4 hours and secondary for 5 hours of daily instruction. The Ministry runs 4 terms per year with holidays running over Christmas – (6 weeks), April/May – (2 weeks), July/August – (2 weeks) and October – (1 week)

Benefits and Incentives for Teaching in the Cook Islands.

  • Become involved with, and a vital part of the wider rural community
  • Wealth of unique professional experiences and additional and responsibilities
  • Accelerated pathway to promotion
  • Wide range of employment options to suit your interests and lifestyle
  • Enjoy a country lifestyle and great benefits!

Qualifications required to teach in the Cook Islands

  • For secondary schools, a university degree in Education or any relevant discipline.
  • For primary schools, a NZ Diploma of teaching.
  • For Early Childhood school, a diploma in ECE is desirable. Experience in childcare or working with children as a baby-sitter would be useful.

Early Childhood – the focus and importance of Early Childhood Education in the Cook Islands.

Early Childhood Education in the Cook Islands focuses on children from birth to 5 years. Children aged from 3 ½ to 5 years are eligible to attend ECE centers.

Although ECE is a non-compulsory education sector, it is one of the most important times for children, as it builds the foundation for children’s future learning. Children learn and retain so much in their early years. Early childhood is a time of discovery and exploration for children, and extends their identity, involvement, inquiry, communication and contribution.

Early Childhood Education in the Cook Islands has its own curriculum document, Api’i Tamariki Potiki, which acknowledges the differences and the links between ECE and school. The curriculum recognizes the need to look at each child ‘holistically’, that is, to cater for the child’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual needs, and treat them as a valued member of the ECE community.

The curriculum also acknowledges the need to build upon the language and culture of the young children of the Cook Islands, and their family. Quality ECE happens in a play based learning environment, supported with warm responsive relationships with children, people, places and things, from within the center and the wider world.

How to become an Early Childhood teacher in the Cook Islands:

To become an ECE teacher, you will need to complete training in ECE, as the Ministry of Education is committed to having trained, qualified ECE teachers by 2010. This training can either be completed through on off shore training provider by distance, or through USP, The Certificate in Early Childhood. As all training is by distance learning, it is possible to work and study at the same time.

A career in ECE is very rewarding as you deal daily with enthusiastic, happy children, who have a love of life and are interested in whatever happens in a day…… and a day with young children is very busy indeed!!!