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.
C10 Behaviour management
Curriculum Criterion 10
The service curriculum supports children’s developing social competence and understanding of appropriate behaviour.
This criterion helps to ensure the service curriculum supports and positively guides the development of children’s social competence and their ability to establish and maintain appropriate relationships with other children and adults.
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.
As children learn to make sense of their world and develop working theories they develop an understanding of themselves in social contexts, including the early childhood service.
What is viewed as social competence and appropriate behaviour may vary from setting to setting and will depend on the values that families, educators, and communities hold. It is therefore vital that educators, parents, the community, and children share with each other their understandings of social competence.
The environment, our expectations, and our teaching practices will be strong indicators of what we consider as socially appropriate and competent behaviours.
A service curriculum that supports social competence and understanding of appropriate behaviour will provide ongoing opportunities for children to practise, through actions, words, and behaviours, their growing competence.
Examples of what this might look like in practice:
- Educators emphasise what to do, rather than what not to do, in explanations and instructions
- There are enough resources to promote children’s choices for challenge, revisiting, wider community experiences, exploration, solitary and group play
- Relationships and interactions in the service promote respect between children, and between children and educators
- Educators use a range of conversation skills to encourage children to talk and think about relationships and the consequences of different responses to a given situation or problem
- Children know the limits and boundaries of acceptable behaviour
- Children are only offered genuine choice
- The service curriculum provides opportunities to discuss and negotiate rights, fairness, and justice with adults.
- Things to consider
Things to consider
Things to consider:
- What are the limits and boundaries in our service? How are these negotiated and shared with children and their families?
- What are our expectations of the range of behaviours children will demonstrate in the early years?
- How does the structure of our staffing, and staffing numbers support the development of children’s social competence?
- What is my image of children? What is my team’s image of children?
- How do we evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching strategies in relation to the development of children’s social competence?
- How do my own personal values impact on, and influence my teaching practice?
- How do our routines and rituals support children’s developing social competence?
- How do we manage challenging behaviours in respectful and dignified ways?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages to children if educators intervene and provide guidance and support during play?