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

Health and safety standards and emergencies

Regulation 46 of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 outlines the health and safety requirements with which all early childhood education service providers, including home-based service providers must comply. These requirements relate to:

  • promoting the good health and safety of the children enrolled in the service
  • preventing accidents and the spread of infection
  • keeping the premises, facilities and equipment used on those premises in good repair, maintained regularly, and safe and free from hazards, and
  • procedures to deal with fire, earthquakes and other emergencies.

See the section on writing policies for help with developing policies and procedures related to health and safety.

For all premises used for the provision of centre-based education and care, service providers must ensure that there are documented procedures for:

  • the hygienic laundering of linen used by the children or adults
  • the changing (and disposal if appropriate) of nappies
  • dealing with emergencies – the procedure must be consistent with national or regional Civil Defence guidelines
  • evacuation of the premises
  • monitoring children’s sleep
  • identifying and managing hazards
  • responding to suspected child abuse and having a process for the prevention of child abuse – documents must be consistent with Child, Youth and Family or New Zealand Police guidelines.

In addition service providers must also keep:

  • records of emergency drills carried out with children
  • records of excursions
  • evidence of parental permission for any travel by motor vehicle
  • records of all food served to children while they are participating in the service (other than that provided by parents for their own children)
  • records of all injuries, incidents and serious illnesses that occur, and the records of written authority from parents for the administration of medicine and records of all medicine given to children left in the care of the service
  • records of training and/or information provided to adults who administer medicine to children.

Refer to the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services 2008 for more detailed information regarding these requirements.

Although the service provider is responsible for ensuring that these health and safety standards are complied with, it is likely to be the coordinator who works alongside the educator to develop effective and appropriate procedures, systems and practices.

Civil Defence has a range of checklists and pamphlets; information in the checklists and pamphlets can be used to ensure that procedures are relevant to the threats in the local area, including an emergency planning guide called Early Childhood Education Services Emergency Planning Guidance.

Educators will need to ensure they have enough supplies and a civil defence procedure outlining how they will access appropriate help and support in emergencies. Parents and families will need to be told where the local Civil Defence centre is in case there is a need to evacuate the centre.

The following are useful resources to support coordinators and educators to comply with the health and safety standard in the 2008 regulations.

Resources

  • The Ministry of Health's Ngā Kupu Oranga Healthy Messages is a useful health and safety resource.
  • The New Zealand Fire Service website has information to support the development of emergency procedures.
  • Contact your local council for emergency planning information that relates specifically to the area in which your service is located.