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. 


C12 Opportunities for parents

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion 12

      Regular opportunities (formal and informal) are provided for parents to:

      • communicate with adults providing education and care about their child, and share specific evidence of the child's learning; and be involved in decision-making concerning their child’s learning.

      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. The criterion also aims to ensure that the learning and development of children is optimally supported through a holistic, collaborative approach and, that parents are well-informed.

  • 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.

      Partnerships involving regular consultation with parents, guardians, and whānau are a crucial part of quality early childhood education. Parental presence and engagement have been found to support improved outcomes for children, and develop a greater sense of belonging for families and whānau.

      Where parents are welcomed, and educators use a range of strategies to develop genuine partnerships built on mutual trust and respect, parents feel more able to participate in decision-making about their child’s learning.

      Educators need to consider the time, place, and space to develop these relationships through informal and formal opportunities. Formal opportunities will include times where communication is planned and may involve preparation, for example a whānau hui or interview evening. Informal opportunities are likely to occur each day, often at the drop-off and pick-up times.

      It is important to remember that not all children will be dropped-off or picked-up by their parents, therefore you will need to develop opportunities to engage with parents of these children at another time.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Parents feel that they are well-informed and that their views are respected and taken note of
      • Interactions with parents are culturally appropriate and give them a sense of belonging
      • Parents’ ‘voices’ are apparent in documentation concerning children
      • Families are confident to visit, talk with staff, ask questions, and offer information about their child
      • Resource material about children’s learning is readily available for families
      • Educators consult with parents about the process to be used when sharing information and making decisions, to ensure it is culturally appropriate, comfortable, and effective for all.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How do we share a child’s day with parents?
      • How do we acknowledge the role of parents/whānau as partners in observing and evaluating their children’s learning and development?
      • How do we empower parents/whānau to actively participate in decisions that affect the education of their children? How do we ensure they are effective?
      • How are parents'/whānau rights recognised?
      • In what ways can parents/whanau communicate in our setting?
      • How effective are the ways we engage with parents? How do we measure this?
      • How do we encourage parents to enquire about their child’s learning and development?
      • How do we ensure that parents understand the practices and procedures of our service?