Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services

The Education Act 1989 S310 defines an early childhood education and care centre as premises 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 being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6—

  1. by the day or part of a day; but
  2. 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 Act 1989 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 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, 719 KB] and printed. 

The licensing criteria were last updated in May 2016.


Licensing Criteria Cover

GMA3 Information provided to parents

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 3

      Information is provided to parents about:

      • how they can be involved in the service;
      • any fees charged by the service;
      • the amount and details of the expenditure of any Ministry of Education funding received by the service; and
      • any planned reviews and consultation.

      Documentation required:

      Written information letting parents know:

      • how they can be involved in the service;
      • any fees charged by the service;
      • the amount and details of the expenditure of any Ministry of Education funding received by the service; and
      • about any planned reviews and consultation.

      To ensure parents are well informed about the service's operation and their child's education, and are made aware of the input they are able to have.

  • 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 information to parents could take a variety of forms. This information could be:

      • included as part of a parent induction pack,
      • in newsletters,
      • a fees schedule,
      • annual reports,
      • provided at regular meetings
      • notices on the wall of the service,
      • website
      • communications in languages other than English

      Many services develop regular reporting processes including providing an annual report. Often monthly financial reports are made available. This is a good way to provide information to parents on a regular basis.

      Amount and details of Ministry funding

      Information provided to parents about Ministry funding must be for the individual centre, not consolidated for an association or membership body that has multiple centres.

  • 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

      The service should identify the best method of communicating with for each family/whanau. Written information may not be sufficient where there are language or literacy issues.

      If a child attending a service is from a family with separated parents the Education Act 1989 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 in ECE and learning experiences
      • Participate in the opportunities provided by the ECE service to engage with parents
      • Have access to any official records held at the service related to their child’s participation in that service