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. 


C2 Assessment

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion 2

      The service curriculum is informed by assessment, planning, and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that demonstrates an understanding of children’s learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts.

      Documentation required


      This criterion requires assessment, planning and evaluation to inform the implemented curriculum and ensure a connection between the different contexts of children’s learning.

  • 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.

      A service curriculum that is informed by assessment, planning, and evaluation will notice, recognise, and respond to the contributions made to the programme by the children, their families, staff, and community. Experiences planned to support and enhance children’s learning will be purposeful and meaningful to them.

      A service will develop a process to assist them to meet this criterion, taking into consideration the beliefs, values, knowledge, and aspirations of children, their families, staff, and community.

      Documentation and evidence gathered during this process may take a variety of forms to suit the service’s operation, and can include: minutes of meetings; observations and learning stories; examples of children’s work; posters and wall displays; recorded discussions; policies and procedures. Children, their families, staff, and community, should all contribute to this process. How information is gathered is not important – how it is used to inform the service curriculum and educator practice is important.

      Further information about Planning, Evaluation, and Assessment can be found on pages 63-65 of Te Whāriki.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Parents' views are sought and recorded
      • Stories about children’s learning in environments other than the early childhood service are included in the planning, assessment, and evaluation process
      • Children are supported by educators to be actively involved in assessing their own learning, such as, telling their own learning stories
      • Photographs and other observations are analysed to identify the learning that has occurred and how to build on it
      • A wide range of methods is used to gather information about children’s learning
      • Curriculum goals and assessment practices are consistent with service philosophy
      • Educators develop, in collaboration with parents/whānau, learning goals that acknowledge children’s heritages and support their understanding of their cultural identity
      • Educators share their knowledge with parents/whānau
      • Management provides educators with time and space to record and analyse each child’s significant learning.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How do we identify what works well and what the barriers are to meaningful assessment, planning, and evaluation?
      • When changes are made to the assessment, planning, and evaluation process how do we ensure they are effective?
      • How is our assessment practice embedded in reciprocal and responsive relationships?
      • How do we encourage contributions from children, their families, and community, and all staff?
      • How useful is the information we gather about children? How are our current assessment practices supporting and enhancing children’s learning?
      • Whose knowledge is of value?
      • How are learning goals set for children, and who does this?
      • What external factors influence our team’s views on assessment, e.g. school? In what ways do these external factors have an impact?
      • How do we access knowledge that will assist us to support/enhance the learning for all children?
      • How do we ensure that we have an understanding of other world views and ways that these may influence learning outcomes for the child?

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