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. 


Governance, management and administration

47 Governance, management, and administration standard: general

(1) The governance, management, and administration standard: general is the standard that requires every licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies to ensure that—

(aa) the service has regard to any statement of National Education and Learning Priorities; and

(a) the service is effectively governed and is managed in accordance with good management practices; and

(b) the service provider regularly collaborates with—

i. parents and family or whānau of children enrolled in the service; and
ii. the adults responsible for providing education and care as part of the service; and

(c) appropriate documentation and records are—

i. developed, maintained, and regularly reviewed; and
ii. made available where appropriate; (A) at any reasonable time on request by a parent of a child enrolled in the service; and(B) at any time on request by any person exercising powers or carrying out functions under Part 26 of the Act; and

(d) adequate information is made available to parents of enrolled children and, where appropriate, to the families or whānau of those children about the operation of the service; and

(e) all reasonable steps are taken to provide staff employed or engaged in the service with adequate professional support, professional development opportunities, and resources.

(2) Each licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies must comply with the governance, management, and administration standard: general.

The criteria in this section are grouped together by topic. Each criterion has also been given a short, descriptive title. These titles are provided only to help you navigate around more easily on the website – they do not form part of the criteria themselves.

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