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. 


GMA9 Annual budget

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 9

      An annual budget guides financial expenditure.

      Documentation required:

      An annual budget setting out the service’s estimated revenue and expenses for the year. The budget includes at least:

      • staffing costs, including leave entitlements;
      • professional development costs;
      • equipment and material costs for the ongoing purchase of new equipment and consumable materials; and
      • provision for operational costs (such as electricity, telephone, food purchases, and other day to day items) and maintenance of the premises as appropriate.

      The criterion will provide the Ministry of Education with evidence of the service’s ability to continue to meet regulatory standards and criteria and afford the financial costs of providing a quality licensed ECE service.

      Amended 21 July 2011

  • 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.

      An annual budget should be prepared once a year and then reviewed every six months, or more frequently throughout the financial year.

      When setting and reviewing the budget, the service can:

      • develop criteria for allocating resources
      • identify priorities for expenditure
      • establish clear procedures for monitoring income and expenditure.

      A budget of income and expenditure should be broken down on a monthly basis.

      The annual budget should be developed at the same time as the annual plan.

      You can find a basic template for a budget here: Childcare Centre Budget Spreadsheet Template [XLSX, 16 KB]