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. 


HS6 Securing furniture

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 6

      Heavy furniture, fixtures, and equipment that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children.

  • 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.

      In all areas of the centre, large and heavy items of furniture and equipment and appliances must be secured to the structure of the building, studs are fine but wallboards may be too weak. Smaller appliances such as stereos or microwave ovens can be secured with industrial Velcro, seismic wax and non-slip mats. See the EQC website for more information(external link).

      Lighter things such as books and blocks can also cause injury if they fall on children. These can be held on shelves by wire or a short chain connected to the shelf with a metal eye or hook.

      See Things to Consider for securing furniture that may need to be moved frequently.

      Lockable castors should be used to prevent trolleys or shelving on wheels from moving around. Think about weight distribution on free standing shelves, i.e. store heavy items at the bottom of shelving with lighter items higher up.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      When securing these items, the following guidelines will be useful:

      • Always fasten to the structure of the building. Studs are fine, but wallboards may be too weak.
      • Make sure that the fastenings used are strong enough to hold the weight of the heavy object. What will happen if it gets bounced up/down?
      • Possible, fasten objects near the top rather than at the bottom. If this can’t be done, then fastenings at the bottom will need to be very strong. This is because of the leverage effect when something topples (a fridge for example).

      Connections that are easy to unclip and re-clip allow furniture to moved when needed. Fastening points can be placed at several places around the walls (in some buildings).

      A short chain on the furniture connected to a metal eye on the wall, by means of a carabena, D-bolt, or similar, can be a good system. This means you can change your furniture around, and still have secure fastening for the heavy objects.