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

PF5 Infant toddler safe space

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and Facilities criterion 5

      If infants, toddlers or children not walking attend, there are safe and comfortable (indoor and outdoor) spaces for them to lie, roll, creep, crawl, pull themselves up, learn to walk, and to be protected from more mobile children.

      Related to clause 45(1)(a)(i&ii) of standard.


      To ensure that the safety of infants and toddlers is upheld as well as ensuring a minimum level of quality education by ensuring that mixed-age environments are designed to consider their unique needs.

  • 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.

      In the home setting where it is likely that children of varying levels of ability and mobility will be together in the same activity space, it is important that infants and toddlers can safely play and explore, both indoors and outdoors.

      If providing out-of-school care, the educator needs to be aware of the space that older school children will be using, as well as any spaces that may be shared with ECE children.

      In thinking about how to use the home’s existing design and space, consider how the following features can be incorporated:

      • Allowing young children the freedom to explore and play.
      • Providing older children with the opportunity to concentrate and work on a project for a sustained period of time without fear of it being demolished by a young ‘helper’.
      • Lessening the likelihood of a prone or crawling infant, or a toddler just beginning to find their feet, being accidentally injured by an older child who is fully engaged in their own play and is not aware of their presence.