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. 


GMA2 Parent access to information

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 2

      Parents are advised how to access:

      • information concerning their child;
      • the service's operational documents (such as its philosophy, policies, and procedures and any other documents that set out how day to day operations will be conducted); and
      • the most recent Education Review Office report regarding the service.

      Documentation required:

      Written information letting parents know how to access:

      • information concerning their child;
      • the service's operational documents; and
      • the most recent Education Review Office report regarding the service.

      To ensure that parents know how to access information about the service’s operation and their child’s education and care

  • 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.

      Providing written information to parents could take a variety of forms, including:

      • as part of a parent induction pack,
      • newsletters,
      • or a notice on the wall of the service.

      A way of meeting the criterion could be to provide copies of the statement of philosophy and important service policies are made available to parents after a child has enrolled or all relevant documents could be kept in one place in the centre, so that these can be easily accessed by parents.

      To ensure parents are well informed about the service’s operation and are supporting their children’s learning and development consider:

      • creating a portfolio for each child that is readily accessible to the child and his or her parents/caregivers. For more information on child portfolios, refer to the Curriculum guidance.
      • Portfolios can be paper based or electronic and stored online and accessed securely by parents.
      • Educators could arrange individual meetings with parents to discuss their children’s learning. The emphasis of the session could be on what each child is learning and how educators and parents can work together for the benefit of the child.
      • Educators could hold workshops for parents/caregivers to share the learning experiences of their children.
      • Service providers could hold meetings to convey information about the service, for example upcoming self reviews; transitional procedures; excursions etc)..

      Parents/caregivers need to be made aware that reports from ERO are free and available from the local ERO office on request.

      They can also be downloaded from the Education Review Office(external link).

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Services may want to consider how information is shared so it is culturally appropriate for the centre’s community.

      Things to consider include:

      • Parent’s first language
      • Communal decision making practices
      • The topic or subject

      Resources that can be used are:

      However services can use other resources that may have been developed in-house for this purpose.

      Professional Practice regarding separated parents/guardians 

      If a child attending the service is from a family with separated parents, the Education and Training Act 2020 sets out the right of entry to early childhood education (ECE) services for parents and guardians.

      Unless a court order rules otherwise, all parents and guardians are entitled to:

      • Reports about their child’s participation and learning experiences in ECE
      • Participate in the opportunities provided by the ECE service to engage with parents
      • Have access to any official records held at the service about their child’s participation in that service

      Services will need to develop a process which supports staff to ascertain how a relationship between separated parents and the service may be established so that communication channels can be opened. This could include ensuring educators have a copy of the enrolment form so they are clear what any court orders are.

      Related downloads:

      Professional Practice regarding Separated Parents/Guardians [PDF, 181 KB]