Certification criteria for playgroups

The Education Act 1989 S 309 defines a playgroup as a group that meets on a regular basis to facilitate children's play and in respect of which—

  1. no child attends for more than 4 hours on any day; and
  2. more than half the children attending on any occasion have a parent or caregiver present in the same play area at the same time; and
  3. the total number of children attending on any occasion is not greater than 4 times the number of parents and caregivers present in the same play area at the same time.

Playgroups include Puna Kōhungahunga, cultural playgroups and community language playgroups.

Playgroups are certificated in accordance with the Education Act 1989 under the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008, which prescribe minimum standards that each certificated playgroup must meet. Certification criteria are used to assess how playgroups meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

The certification criteria were last updated in May 2016.

A copy of the certification criteria can be downloaded from the right-hand column below.

For each criterion there is guidance to help playgroups meet the required standards.

Licensing Criteria Cover

HS2 Emergencies

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      There are a written emergency plan and supplies to ensure the care and safety of children and adults at the playgroup. The plan must include evacuation procedures for the playgroup’s premises that apply in a variety of emergency situations. If there is an approved Fire Evacuation scheme for the building in which the playgroup operates, the evacuation procedures must be consistent with that scheme.

      Documentation required

      A written emergency plan that includes at least

      • An evacuation procedure for the premises.
      • A list of safety and emergency supplies and resources sufficient for the age and number of children and adults at the playgroup and details of how these will be maintained and accessed in an emergency.
      • Details of the roles and responsibilities that will apply during an emergency situation.
      • A communication plan for families and support services.
      • Evidence of review of the plan on an, at least, annual basis and implementation of improved practices as required.
      Rationale/Intent

      This criteria aims to ensure the safety of children in an emergency and also that adults have the necessary knowledge and supplies to deal with any emergency situation.

      Amended May 2015

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Despite the fact that your playgroup may only meet once or twice a week, emergencies can occur at any time and playgroups, like all other ECE services, must be ready to respond appropriately.

      The written emergency plan must cover all emergency situations such as fire, earthquake, tsunami, flood etc. The plan has a broader scope than just fire evacuation.

      The written emergency plan should include at least:

      • An evacuation procedure for the premises.
      • A list of safety and emergency supplies and resources sufficient for the age and number of children and adults at the service and details of how these will be maintained and accessed in an emergency.
      • Details of the roles and responsibilities that will apply during an emergency situation.
      • A communication plan for families and support services.
      • Evidence of review of the plan on an, at least, annual basis and implementation of improved practices as required.

      The building where your playgroup meets may already have an evacuation plan. Buildings like churches or community halls, and libraries are generally required to have an approved evacuation scheme under New Zealand Fire Service legislation. Talk to the building owners about this so that your playgroup can be part of any evacuation drills or planning. You will need to regularly practice emergency evacuations/drills so that every adult and child knows what they can expect and need to do in an emergency.

      Adults running your playgroup should be able to talk confidently and knowledgeably about the procedures without needing to refer to any documentation. They should be able to confidently identify the roles that they and others will play during an emergency evacuation. They should be able to confidently and knowledgably describe how children (walking and non-walking) will be managed during an evacuation. They should be able to confidently and knowledgeably describe how they will deal with any unexpected circumstance that arises during an evacuation.

      It may be more difficult to evacuate children from centres that are not at ground level in the event of a fire. Fire evacuation schemes need to identify ways to mitigate this. We recommend reading the Guidance for ECE Services - Evacuation from High Rise Buildings [PDF, 394 KB].

      The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Education have produced an Emergency Management Plan template [DOC, 719 KB] that can be used for planning for a variety of emergencies.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      • What type of emergencies might occur in your area and what will you need to do if they occur?
      • Do you have access to torches or emergency lighting?
      • Do you have a cell phone to make an emergency call?
      • Are the safety procedures in the building being maintained?
      • What processes does the building owner have for maintaining the Civil Defence kit and emergency drills?
      • Where is your list of emergency contact phone numbers?
      • What information is available from your local council about emergency procedures?
      • How do playgroup members find out about the emergency procedures?
      • How do you ensure that sufficient essential resources such as nappies, food, water and essential medical supplies are available?
      • Where is your local civil defence meeting place?