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

GMA4 Parent involvement

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 4

      Parents of children attending the service and adults providing education and care are provided with opportunities to contribute to the development and review of the service's operational documents (such as philosophy, policies, and procedures and any other documents that set out how day to day operations will be conducted).

      Documentation required:

      • Evidence of opportunities provided for parents and adults providing education and care to contribute to the development and review of the service's operational documents.

      The criterion is underpinned by the belief that parent and whānau involvement can positively contribute to the service’s operation and quality of education and care provided to their children.

  • 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.

      Services are required to show evidence they have provided opportunities for parents and educators to contribute to the development and review of your centre’s operational documents.

      Documentation Guidance:

      Evidence that parents have had opportunities to contribute to the development and review of the service's operational documents could include the following:
      For meetings, attendance records and minutes could be considered as evidence.
      If you are providing documents for parents to read, having a sheet parents can tick and sign when they have reviewed documents would also be a way of recording evidence

      Professional Practice regarding separated parents/guardians

      Professional Practice regarding Separated Parents/Guardians [PDF, 56 KB] [PDF; 56kb]

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      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