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. 


C13 Seeking information

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion 13

      Information and guidance is sought when necessary from agencies/services to enable adults providing education and care to work effectively with children and their parents.

      Documentation required


      The criterion is underpinned by the belief that a level of collaboration between parents, adults providing education and care and other agencies as necessary will result in positive outcomes for children. The criterion aims to ensure that services seek information as needed.

  • 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.

      There are a range of situations where information and guidance from outside agencies and specialist services can enhance the ability of a child to fully access the curriculum and therefore improve their educational outcomes. Support and assistance may be focused on an individual child and family/whānau or on the wider group of children, management, and educators.

      Building stronger links between ECE services, parents and whānau, parenting programmes, schools, health, social services, and other specialists allow children’s learning and development needs to be met more holistically. It is useful for an early childhood service to establish these links within their community before they are needed, to ensure timely assistance.

      Before educators approach a specialist service, it is important to consult with the parents to ensure that the process is appropriate. Confidentiality issues must always be taken into consideration.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Educators know and quickly recognise the factors that suggest specialist information and guidance is required
      • Decisions to seek specialist guidance are made in collaboration with others, including colleagues and parents, and are based on observational evidence
      • Educators have a directory of specialist services and a ready network who will provide guidance and support to parents.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How do our policies provide a clear process for identifying when support is needed, and for seeking that support?
      • How do we know that we have considered the family's wishes?
      • How do we go about making contact with specialist services? Do we know where all our local community facilities are?
      • How do our own values and assumptions impact on our decision whether or not to seek support?
      • What are our own assumptions of how specialist support operates?
      • How do we involve parents when accessing specialist services?
      • How does our service integrate advice from specialist services into the curriculum?
      • What are our service’s strategies to fully-include children with special needs into our programmes?