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. 


GMA6 Self-review and internal evaluation

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 6

      An ongoing process of self-review and internal evaluation helps the service maintain and improve the quality of its education and care.

      Documentation required:

      1. A process for reviewing and evaluating the service's operation (for example, learning and teaching practices, philosophy, policies, and procedures) by the people involved in the service. The process is consistent with criterion GMA4/GMA3, and includes a schedule showing timelines for planned review of different areas of operation.
      2. Recorded outcomes from the review and evaluation process. Outcomes show how the service has regard for the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) in its operation.

      The criterion is to ensure that services have processes for continual improvement to maintain the quality of the education and care provided to children. It is underpinned by the belief that ongoing self -review is part of good management and administration.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      The following is a starting point to show how services can meet the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      What is an ongoing process of self-review and internal evaluation?

      Self-review is about looking back on the implementation of policies, procedures and practices to ensure licensing requirements are met. Self-review involves asking questions such as:

      • Are we following our policies and procedures?
      • Are we doing what we are required to?

      Internal evaluation is about identifying what is and is not working, and for whom. This is carried out with the aim of improving practice and what is happening for children and then to determine what changes are required.

      Internal evaluation involves asking questions such as:

      • How well….?
      • How effectively…?
      • What next….?

      The Ministry would expect to see scheduled self-review and internal evaluation, in a service’s annual plan. Spontaneous self-review may happen in response to an incident or complaint.

      An ongoing process means that scheduled self-reviews and internal evaluations are undertaken regularly and are linked to and reflect on previous reviews or evaluations. An ongoing process involves asking questions such as:

      • What actions did we take?
      • What were the outcomes of those actions?
      • How have those outcomes informed the current self-review/internal evaluation?

      What should be included in the documented process?

      The documented self-review and internal evaluation process should identify:

      • Who will be involved in review and evaluation?
      • How often will review and evaluations take place?
      • How parents of children attending the service are provided with the opportunity to contribute to the review and evaluation?
      • What type of incident/complaint would initiate a spontaneous review?

      What outcomes need to be recorded?

      Recorded outcomes should include changes that were made (or not made) to the service’s policies, procedures and practices, the rationale for these changes (or lack of change), what impact these changes (if applicable) have had on tamariki and how the service has regard for the statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) in its operation.

      How to have regard for the NELP?

      Having regard for the NELP(external link) means being able to demonstrate in the documented outcomes of self-review and internal evaluation how any change made to the service’s policies, procedures and practices align with priorities 1-6 of the NELP. Services will need to ensure those involved in any review and evaluation are familiar with priorities 1-6 of the NELP.

  • Things to consider