Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

The Education Act 1989 S309 defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to fewer than 5 children under the age of 6 (in addition to any child enrolled at school who is the child of the person who provides education or care) in:

  1. their own homes
  2. the home of the person providing education or care
  3. any other home nominated by the parents of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education Act 1989 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

The licensing criteria were last updated in November 2016.

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

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

Licensing Criteria Cover

C9 Range of experiences

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum Criterion 9

      The service curriculum provides children with a range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend their learning and development – both indoors and outdoors, individually, and in groups.

      Documentation required

      Related to clause 43(1)(a)(i) of standard.


      This criterion is a means of ensuring that the service curriculum is consistent with the prescribed curriculum framework.

  • 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.

      The range of experiences and opportunities provided to enhance children’s learning and development will be heavily influenced by the outcomes of assessment, planning, and evaluation practices. Along with providing a range of resources and equipment, extending children’s learning and development involves using these resources in purposeful and meaningful ways, relevant to the children’s lives.

      Services offering out-of-school care need to ensure that the presence of older out-of-school-care children does not negatively impact on the range of learning experiences provided. They need to consider any planned activities to ensure there are appropriate activities for the ages of the children attending.

      Resources take many forms and will include people, places, and things. The resources provided to support the service curriculum should reflect the service’s philosophy of learning, and will be responsive to the preferences of children, their families, the educator, and community. Low numbers of children in a home-based setting, and the ability for the educator to take them away from the immediate home-environment, means opportunities for learning can occur in a large number of environments, including settings like supermarkets, local playgrounds, and schools.

      The experiences and opportunities available should enable children to make choices about their learning. This could be individual or group learning, happen indoors or outdoors, and offer challenge and familiarity. The home is a rich source of resources for learning – everyday items and routines can be used to enhance children’s knowledge skills and dispositions, for example, hanging out the washing can involve prediction (how many pegs will I need?), sorting, and other mathematical skills.

      Through their interactions with children, educators have a key role in extending children’s learning and development. They create opportunities for children to expand their thinking and learning within friendly, nurturing relationships.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Educators are familiar with individual children’s interests and strengths and provide appropriate experiences to extend them
      • Children have ready-access to varied environments and resources that they can explore and investigate
      • Equipment can be used in a variety of different ways
      • Children engage in a variety of different physical experiences, planned to challenge them and enhance their physical skills
      • Children are actively engaged in investigation and sustained exploration
      • The service curriculum reflects the holistic way that children learn
      • Educators frequently join in children’s activities, and offer materials, information, or encouragement to facilitate play and learning around a particular subject.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • Are there enough resources to promote children’s choices for challenge, revisiting, wider community experiences, exploration, and solitary and group play?
      • How is our environment set up? Who makes the decisions about how our environment is set up? Where does assessment for learning feature in this?
      • Does the physical access support children to make choices about their movements between the indoor and outdoor environments?
      • How are children and their families/whānau engaged, regarding the range of experiences and opportunities provided?
      • How do our teaching practices stimulate children’s thinking, and reflect the holistic way children learn and grow?
      • Is our environment used in purposeful, and meaningful ways?
      • Is the environment arranged in a way that allows choice and opportunities for independence and interdependence?
      • Is out-of school care being provided in the home?