Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines an early childhood education and care centre as a premises that is used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care or children enrolled at a school who are being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6 years by day (or part of a day) but not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.

Centre-based ECE services have a variety of different operating structures, philosophies and affiliations, and are known by many different names – for example, Playcentres, early learning centres, Montessori, childcare centres, Kindergartens, crèches, preschools, a’oga amata, Rudolf Steiner etc.

These centres are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the centres meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

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

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.8 MB] and printed. 

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022. 


Appendix 1: First aid requirements for Criterion PF28

First aid kits must include at least the following:

  • disposable gloves
  • sterile saline solution (or some other means of cleansing wounds)
  • safety pins, bandage clips or tape (or some other means of holding dressings in place)
  • sterile wound dressings, including sticking plasters
  • rolls of stretchable bandage
  • triangular bandage (or some other means of immobilising an upper limb injury)
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • cold pack
  • first aid manual
  • National Poisons Centre phone number - 0800 POISON / 0800 764766
  • Healthline phone number - 0800 611 116

The first aid kit may also contain any Category (i) medicines the service chooses to use, providing the appropriate written authority has been gained from parents (see Criterion HS28)."

Amended May 2015