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. 


HS29 Medicine training

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 29

      Adults who administer medicine to children (other than their own) are provided with information and/or training relevant to the task.

      Documentation required:

      A record of training and/or information provided to adults who administer medicine to children (other than their own) while at the service.


      The criterion is linked to Education Circular 2001/15. The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring that medication is given to children only by people with the necessary knowledge and skills.

  • 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.

      Adults at the centre need to feel confident and capable of providing the necessary support to children when medication is administered. Because educators/staff do not generally have medical training, some form of training or information is required so they can do this. First aid courses do not commonly cover the correct administration of medicine, so this will not usually be sufficient.

      An example might be insulin injections for diabetics, EpiPens for anaphylactic shock, or the use of asthma inhalers with a spacer. Work together with the child’s family to find the best way of providing the training needed for staff in these situations.

      Training could be provided via a conversation / demonstration / written information by any of:

      • the parents
      • the child’s GP or practice nurse
      • a public health nurse
      • a pharmacist
      • a foundation or society e.g. asthma foundation

      For common medicines administered by mouth (such as antibiotics), the level of information needed will be minimal. Check that the right dose (use a standard measuring syringe or spoon) of the right medicine is given to the right child (double-check the details on the label each time) at the right time (follow any instructions provided by parents or medical staff about this).

      Documentation Guidance

      Keep the record of training for the duration of the child’s enrolment or the staff member’s employment, whichever is longer. This record should be kept with the child’s enrolment records.