The regulatory framework for ECE
The rules that govern ECE are divided into 3 tiers:
- first tier – the Education and Training Act 2020
- second tier – the regulations for ECE services and playgroups, which both came into force in 2008
- third tier – the criteria, which are the standards that services must comply with.
You can see how these tiers work together in the diagram below.
This framework is also known as the 2008 regulatory framework.
Third tier of the framework – the criteria
The third tier describes the day-to-day standards that ECE services and kōhanga reo must meet. These criteria explain what’s required in order to meet the regulations. There are different criteria for the different kinds of services.
Informal fourth tier – guidance
To give services a bit more help, an informal fourth tier has been created. It's called 'guidance' and you can find it with the criteria on this website. Our guidance provides information, things to think about, samples of documents and links to further information to help services meet the criteria (third tier).
You can download copies of the following 2008 criteria:
- Licensing criteria for centre-based education and care services 2008 (updated May 2016)
- Licensing criteria for home-based education and care services 2008 (updated November 2016)
- Licensing criteria for hospital-based education and care services 2008 (updated May 2016)
- Licensing criteria for kōhanga reo affiliated with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust (updated June 2018)
- Certification criteria for playgroups (updated May 2016).
Licensing fees for new ECE services
When new ECE services are applying to be licensed for the first time, they must pay a fee of $2,817.50 (this includes GST).
For more information about licensing fees contact your regional Ministry of Education office.
Early Learning Regulatory Review
The Ministry of Education has begun a comprehensive review of the early learning regulatory system (the Review). The Review’s purpose is to ensure that the regulatory system is clear and fit for purpose to support high quality educational outcomes for our youngest learners.
Find out more about the Early Learning Regulatory Review.
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