Starting a centre-based ECE service
This is a guide for service providers interested in establishing a licensed early childhood education (ECE) and care centre. Please make sure you read the whole document before taking further steps to establishing your ECE service.
Licensing Criteria Cover
Using this resource
All businesses keep records of tax, finances, management decisions and so on.
The following list of administration records aims to help you to develop records required to comply with:
- Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008
- Health (Infectious And Notifiable Diseases) Regulations 1966.
Where possible, links are also made to the requirements of the ECE funding system. It is recommended that you read the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook as you develop your records, to ensure they comply with funding requirements.
The examples included in this resource can be downloaded as Word documents and changed as needed. The examples include mandatory requirements. Consider adding information or changing the layout, wording, titles and so on to suit your service.
Services are required to keep enrolment records and attendance records for 7 years (licensing criterion GMA 10 and licensing criterion GMA 11). It is a good idea to keep other records such as accidents, illnesses and excursions for Education Review Office audits.
Administration records – list
Please note the following:
- The title of each record below is a guide only. The required content could be set out under different titles, or grouped differently.
- All content is required (unless otherwise stated).
- The content that is only required by the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook only applies if you claim government funding.
If in any doubt about requirements, check the actual wording in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services 2008 and Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook).
ECE services must keep the following administrative records:
1. Enrolment form
The enrolment form is a written agreement between a parent or guardian and your service that a specific child will attend your service at specific times (or on a casual basis). The form must include at least the following:
- Child’s full name and their home address or addresses (GMA10).
- Child’s date of birth. You must sight a copy of the birth certificate of each new child permanently enrolled in your service so the Ministry of Education can allocate a national student number for each child.
- Iwi affiliation if applicable.
- Privacy statement.
- The name and address (if the address differs from the child’s) of at least one person who has custody of the child, or has been nominated by a person with custody of the child, and the place or means by which this person can be reached while the child attends the service (usually this would be a phone number) (GMA10).
- Details of how at least one parent or guardian can be contacted while the child attends the service (GMA10).
- The names of people who should be consulted if the child is ill or injured.
- Emergency contact (GMA10).
- Custody arrangements – including the names of people authorised to collect the child and, if there are legal issues, the names of those forbidden to have access or access is subject to conditions. Copies of appropriate court orders are useful to sight or keep (GMA10).
- Details of the child’s doctor or medical centre (GMA10).
- Details of any chronic illness from which each child suffers, and of any medication the child has to take (GMA10).
- Details of the child’s immunisation status.
- Date the child commenced attendance at the service and their finish date.
- The days and times each child is expected to attend, and details of any later changes to the agreement, signed and dated by at least one parent/guardian (keep a paper copy).
- For permanent enrolments, attestation by the child’s parent/guardian of the hours the child is enrolled at another service (including none if appropriate).
- For casual enrolments, attestation by the child’s parent/guardian that the child is not enrolled at another service for the time the child will be attending the service casually, and an indication that the child will be attending on a casual basis, signed and dated by at least one of the child’s parents/guardians.
- An attestation declaration for '20 Hours ECE' funding must be completed and signed for each child receiving 20 Hours ECE funding. The attestation declaration must be attached to the enrolment agreement. Please note: 20 Hours ECE funding must not be claimed for a child until the service has received a completed and signed
- Attestation Form.
- If the service is offering 20 Hours ECE funding, details of Optional Charges.
- Information on when the service is open and if the child will attend on statutory holidays or during school term breaks.
- A signed declaration that indicates whether the educator who will be providing education and care for the child is a member of that child’s family. This is required for funding purposes.
- If the service transports children to and from the service, information about the transport arrangements.
- A dated signature of at least one parent/guardian to attest to the accuracy of the enrolment record.
- A dated declaration by the service provider to ensure the form has been checked and the relevant sections completed.
Note: It is crucial that you also refer to the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, (Regulation 47, Centre-based Licensing Criteria GMA9) and Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook, chapters 6 and 11. The handbook includes important additional information about record keeping – for example, staffing records, and ECE qualifications. The handbook also includes examples of records required for funding purposes in appendix 2. An example enrolment form can be found in the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook.
2. Fees record
- the level of fees and other charges to be paid and the conditions of payment (available to parents); and
- the name of the child for whom fees and other charges are paid, the amount paid and the period of attendance covered.
Publish the fees to be charged for attendance at the service (whether as actual fees, a range of fees, or a maximum fee) so that families are adequately informed. Services are also required to provide written information letting parents know about the amount and details of the expenditure of any Ministry of Education funding received.
Providing written information to parents on the above requirements as outlined in criterion GMA2 could take a variety of forms including as part of a parent induction pack, newsletters, a website, a fees schedule or annual reports.
Many services develop regular reporting processes including providing an annual report. Often monthly financial reports are made available. This is a good way to provide information to parents on a regular basis.
3. Attendance record, sign in and out book, and roll
The attendance record shows all of the following:
- Separate sections or columns for children aged under 2 and for children aged 2 and over.
- The first and last names of each child, clearly identified.
- Days and times of actual attendance for each child.
- A record of any absence, with an ‘a’ when a child does not attend at a time for which they are enrolled.
- Notes and explanations about attendance, such as when a child is away sick or has attended for more/less hours than they were enrolled.
- Attendance registers that have been marked by staff on a twice-daily basis (or once a day for services that operate only one session). Services must also keep evidence (for example, a signed attendance register) that a parent/guardian of each child has regularly examined and confirmed the attendance record. This needs to be completed once a week for all-day teacher-led centre based services or once a month for sessional teacher-led and parent/whānau led services.
4. Accident, incident or illness record
- the child's name
- the date, time and description of the accident, incident or illness
- actions taken and by whom, and
- evidence that parents have been notified/informed.
5. Medicine record
This should show the following:
- Details of any medication a child has to take while attending the service.
- Details of all medicine (whether prescription or non-prescription) given to the children while at the service, the occasions on which it was administered, who administered it, and by whose authority. Parents need to acknowledge these details. Adults who administer medication need training or information relevant to the task. A record of this information or training needs to be kept.
Note: Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 (regulation 46, centre-based licensing criterion HS28) require that medicine is not given to a child unless it is given by a doctor or ambulance officer, by the parent of the child, or with the written authority of a parent/guardian.
6. Food record
A record of all food served to children while they are participating in the service (other than that provided by parents for their own children). This needs to record the type of food provided. The record must be kept and be available for inspection for 3 months after the food is served. Refer to Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 (regulation 46, Centre-based Licensing Criterion HS19)
7. Other documentation
Services must ensure that parents are advised how to access the following:
- The service's current licence certificate.
- The full names and qualifications of each person counting towards regulated qualification requirements.
- A procedure people should follow if they wish to complain about non-compliance with the regulations or criteria. This should include the option to contact the local
- Ministry of Education office and should provide the contact details.
- A copy of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, and the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services 2008.
- A copy of the most recent Education Review Office report regarding the service.
Services must also:
- Document a hazard identification and management system that includes consideration of all hazards to children and to adults. See Centre-based licensing criterion HS12.
- Provide written information that lets parents know how they can be involved in the service and about any planned reviews and consultation.
It is recommended that services make their policies, management plans and meeting dates easily accessible.