Non-enrolled children visiting licensed early childhood education and care centres
Licensed early childhood education and care centres provide education and care to children under the age of six who are enrolled to attend a centre.
There may be times when a child who is not enrolled visits a centre, accompanied by their parent or another adult.
A visiting child of any age must be counted towards regulated adult-to-child ratios and licence maximum requirements while they are present at the centre during licensed hours. An adult or parent attending with a visiting child can be counted as an adult in regulated adult-to-child ratios for the purpose of supervising their visiting child.
If centres choose to accommodate children visiting with their parent or another adult they need to have arrangements in place to ensure their health and safety¹ without compromising the supervision and standard of education and care provided to enrolled children. This could be through the development of a policy agreed to with parents and whānau. While not an exhaustive list, a policy should clearly state how visiting children will not impede the education and care of the children enrolled and attending, how parents of enrolled children will be informed, and how child and adult safety will be managed including that of the visiting adult and child. In addition services also need to consider any other legislated requirements they must meet such as the occupant load specified on a Compliance Schedule and fire evacuation plans.
A child of any age cannot visit a centre if regulated adult-to-child ratios cannot be met and/or if the presence of an additional visiting child would mean that the centre exceeds the maximum number of children specified on its licence.
For practical purposes there may be occasions when licence maximums are exceeded due to the operation of the service, for example at pick up and drop off times or when a parent and child is visiting to potentially enrol in the service. If your centre run events/activities where there are additional adults and children on site during licensed hours of operation you need to consider how to manage these events/activities without compromising the supervision and standard of education and care provided to enrolled children.
Children who are visiting an early childhood education and care centre are not eligible for funding unless the visiting child is under the age of six, not enrolled in school, and has completed a casual enrolment agreement with the service.
¹ The service provider as the PCBU should refer to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 s36(2) and s46 when considering who should be at a centre and how their presence will be managed.
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