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. 


HS30 Children washed when soiled

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 30

      Children are washed when they are soiled or pose a health risk to themselves or others.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and wellbeing of children by requiring services to use the body wash facilities as appropriate.

  • 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.

      It might be necessary to wash a child:

      • at nappy change time – sometimes wipes are not enough
      • if a child has vomited over themselves or another person
      • if a child has a toileting accident
      • if children become wet or dirty during play.

      Washing practices should be consistent with the requirements of PF26 - body wash facilities.

      Consider the child’s need for privacy. Respectful interactions between the adult and child are important.

      Staff protection and child protection policies need to be kept in mind.

      Regional Public Health(external link) provides guidelines for washing soiled children including suggested spill kit contents.