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. 


C11 Parents’ aspirations

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion 11

      Positive steps are taken to respect and acknowledge the aspirations held by parents and whānau for their children.

      Documentation required


      The criterion is underpinned by the belief that a level of collaboration between parents and adults providing education and care will result in positive outcomes for children, and that parents are the ‘experts’ on their own children. The criterion aims to ensure that services consider the parents' perspectives in regards to their children.

  • 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 are a taonga of their families/whānau. All parents have particular goals and dreams for their children. These aspirations may be about the individual child and/or may be about the child within the context of their collective group.

      Educators need to listen carefully and respectfully to the aspirations shared by parents. Sometimes the goals parents identify for their children may not fit comfortably with the service philosophy or what you understand about children’s learning and development. In these situations it is important to discuss this with the parents, articulating your understanding and finding a way to meet the parents' aspirations that is appropriate to your service.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Educators are receptive to information about children’s lives at home and incorporate it into their planning and programme
      • There are regular opportunities provided for parents to share their goals for their child with educators
      • Families are confident to visit, talk with staff, ask questions, and offer information about their child.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • What informal and formal opportunities for engaging with parents are regularly taken (and recorded) to develop an understanding of their aspirations for their child?
      • In what way does our service use consultation to support change?
      • How do we create an atmosphere that enables free-sharing of ideas and opinions?
      • In what ways do our notions of power impact on parents sharing their aspirations?
      • Whose knowledge is viewed as the most valuable?
      • What happens when parents/whānau challenge our interpretations of anything? Is this process one of empowerment?
      • Who decides how families/whānau are consulted? What is the agenda for this consultation?