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 April 2021.


HS7 Emergency plan and supplies

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 7

      There are a written emergency plan and supplies to ensure the care and safety of children and adults at the service. The plan must include evacuation procedures for the services's premises, which apply in a variety of emergency situations and which are consistent with the Fire Evacuation Scheme for the building.

      Documentation required:

      A written emergency plan that includes at least:

      • An evacuation procedure for the premises.
      • A list of safety and emergency supplies and resources sufficient for the age and number of children and adults at the service and details of how these will be maintained and accessed in an emergency.
      • Details of the roles and responsibilities that will apply during an emergency situation.
      • A communication plan for families and support services.
      • Evidence of review of the plan on an, at least, annual basis and implementation of improved practices as required.

      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by:

      • ensuring that the service has an adequate evacuation procedure for a range of emergency situations, and resources
      • sufficient emergency supplies and resources for the children and adults likely to be at the service.

      Amended May 2015

  • 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 addition to compliance with HS4 (Fire evacuation scheme) the centre must have a documented evacuation procedure specifically for the ECE premises. The evacuation procedure required is the responsibility of the service provider.

      This evacuation procedure must cover all emergency situations including, but not limited to fire, earthquake, tsunami, flood, storm, volcano, landslide etc. The procedure has a broader scope than just fire evacuation and must be consistent with the over-arching Fire and Emergency NZ(external link) approved fire evacuation scheme.

      If the service is licensed for under 2’s, then in order to have supplies sufficient for the age and number of children attending, the emergency supplies must include infant formula and spare sterile bottles.

      The National Emergency Management Agency and the Ministry of Education have produced a template that can be used for planning for a variety of emergencies.

      National Emergency Management Agency(external link)

      Ministry of Education's Emergency Management Plan template [DOC, 759 KB].

      Additional guidance is available specifically for services above ground level, we recommend you read Guidance for ECE Services - Evacuation from High Rise Buildings [PDF, 394 KB]