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. 


HS13 Temperature of hot water from taps children can access

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 13

      § The temperature of warm water delivered from any taps that children can access independently is no higher than 40°C, and comfortable for children at the centre to use.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by removing the risk of hot water scalding and to ensure that water is kept at a comfortable temperature to encourage hygienic handwashing practices.

  • 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.

      If the centre’s hot water supply is produced by a continuous flow gas hot water system, Regional Public Health recommends it should be set to deliver water between 37ºC and 40ºC wherever children have access.

      In cases where water is stored, a tempering valve can be installed. Refer to criterion PF24 – Tempering Valve. The water temperature of child accessible taps needs to be checked on every day of operation before children use the tap(s).