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. 


C6 Culture

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion 6

      The service curriculum respects and supports the right of each child to be confident in their own culture and encourages children to understand and respect other cultures.

      Documentation required


      This criterion helps to ensure the service curriculum is responsive to the different cultures of the families of the children attending and helps each child gain a positive awareness of their own and other cultures.

  • 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.

      Children’s learning and development is enhanced if the well-being of their family and community is supported; if their family, culture, knowledge and community are respected; and if there is a strong connection and consistency between all aspects of the child’s world. When all families are welcomed it supports a child’s sense of connection and connectedness. The service curriculum supports the cultural identity of all children, affirms and celebrates cultural differences, and aims to help children gain a positive awareness of their own and other cultures.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Partnerships are developed with families/whānau to assist understanding of the values, customs, rituals, and practices that are important to the child and to identify meaningful ways to include these in the curriculum
      • Children’s home languages and cultural practices are heard and seen in the environment
      • Resources reflect ethnic diversity and the cultures of the families using the service
      • Experiences and opportunities are taken for the modelling of non-discriminatory practices
      • Important events are acknowledged and celebrated to foster children’s sense of worth and belonging within the environment
      • Children have opportunities to share aspects of their culture with others in the service
      • Educators use a variety of teaching strategies that demonstrate the holistic way children learn and grow.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How are families/whānau kept informed about and encouraged to participate in the development of our service curriculum?
      • How do our self-review processes support children knowing about and understanding their own and others' cultures?
      • How is our understanding of and respect for our own and others’ cultures reflected in our service’s philosophy statement, policies, and practices?
      • How do we know whether our programme is effective in relation to supporting each child to be confident in their own culture and respectful of others’ cultures?
      • How do we ensure the provision of meaningful and respectful cultural experiences?
      • Are our relationships with families/whānau reciprocal and responsive? How do we know?
      • How does our team challenge discriminatory practices and behaviour in our service?
      • How does our team challenge issues to do with fairness and social justice?
      • What opportunities are there for the children in our service to take part in events and customs of cultural significance?
      • How does our behaviour demonstrate that we value and respect diversity?

  • Gallery