Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services
Section 15 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) 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—
- by the 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, 2.1 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in April 2021.
Governance Management and Administration criterion 6
An ongoing process of self-review helps the service maintain and improve the quality of its education and care.
- 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, and includes a schedule showing timelines for planned review of different areas of operation.
- Recorded outcomes from the review process.
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.
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.
Self-review is an ongoing and continuous process of quality improvement. It involves gathering and analysing information about the service from a range of sources; and using that information to inform decisions aimed at improving service performance and the learning outcomes of children. These improvement opportunities are then detailed in a plan implemented by the service. The plan should be regularly reviewed and the self-review cycle repeats itself.
Self review enables early childhood services to evaluate what they do to improve the quality of education provided for children.
Self review can be planned or spontaneous and can be formal (for decisions requiring consultation) or informal.
Self review should be guided by procedures that involve gathering, analysis and use of information.
The perspectives of managers, educators, children, parents and whanau should be included in review and the findings should lead to decisions about changes to what the service does and to the service’s priorities.
Any changes made to the service’s operation from self review should be revisited in future self reviews to ensure they are having the intended effect.
Each service needs to have a process for self review including a schedule or timetable for planned reviews.
All self review must be documented – this could include:
- session diaries;
- meeting minutes;
- survey results;
- formal write-ups in a dedicated folder
- Things to consider
Things to consider
Ngā Arohaehae Whai Hua/Self-review Guidelines for Early Childhood Education have been developed to encourage ECE services to adopt a process of self-review. The Guidelines cover all areas of the self-review process – including when to undertake self-review and what to review. A series of templates of review plans and frameworks that can be used as guides for review, and examples of self-review in practice are included as appendices. Review stories have also been provided by a range of ECE services, which show different approaches to review.
ERO has also prepared a set of evaluation indicators for use in its reviews of early childhood services. Services may also choose to use the indicators when reviewing their own performance. These indicators can be found at the Education Review Office(external link).