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, 1.7 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in March 2023.
Health and safety
46 Health and safety practices standard: general
(1) The health and safety practices standard: general is the standard that requires every licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies to—
a. take all reasonable steps to promote the good health and safety of children enrolled in the service; and
b. take all reasonable precautions to prevent accidents and the spread of infection among children enrolled in the service; and
c. take all reasonable steps to ensure that the premises, facilities, and other equipment on those premises are—
i. kept in good repair; and
ii. maintained regularly; and
iii. used safely and kept free from hazards; and
d.take all reasonable steps to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to deal with fires, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
(2) Each licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies must comply with the health and safety practices standard: general.
What do the symbols next to the criteria in this section mean?
The criteria in this section are grouped together by topic. Each criterion has also been given a short, descriptive title. These titles are provided only to help you navigate around more easily on the website – they do not form part of the criteria themselves.
In this section
- Hygiene - Criteria and guidance for HS1-HS3
- Emergencies - Criteria and guidance for HS4-HS8
- Sleep - Criteria and guidance for HS9-HS11
- Hazards and outings - Criteria and guidance for HS12-HS18
- Food and drink - Criteria and guidance for HS19-HS23
- Child health and wellbeing - Criteria and guidance for HS24-HS30
- Child protection - Criteria and guidance for HS31-HS33
- Notification - Criteria and guidance for HS34