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. 


HS3 Nappy changing procedure

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 3

      § A procedure for the changing (and disposal, if appropriate) of nappies is displayed near the nappy changing facilities and consistently implemented.

      Documentation required:

      A procedure for the changing (and disposal, if appropriate) of nappies that aims to ensure:

      • safe and hygienic practices; and
      • that children are treated with dignity and respect.

      Displaying the procedure ensures that every person using the facilities is made aware of the procedure to maintain general hygiene and children's safety and wellbeing.

  • 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.

      A nappy changing procedure communicates your service’s expectations about this important care routine to parents/whānau and anyone using the area.

      You may wish to keep a record of nappy changes each day for parents’ information.

      More information can be found in the resource Nga Kupu Oranga: A health and safety resource for early childhood services(external link).

      Refer to Criteria PF25 - Nappy Change Facilities for more information.

      Documentation Guidance:
      A nappy changing procedure could include :

      • Who can change children’s nappies
      • How often children’s nappies are checked/changed
      • The hand washing practices to be used. If relevant, the practices to be used when wearing disposable gloves
      • How the nappy changing area is cleaned and disinfected When/how often and by whom
      • How adults should interact with children when changing nappies
      • How children are kept safe from falls or other hazards
      • How ‘solid waste’ is disposed of
      • How are soiled nappies stored and disposed of or given to parents to take home for disposal?
      • If relevant, how are potties stored, used and cleaned?

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Centres should consider children with additional needs.

      Older children in nappies need to be encouraged to be as independent as possible:

      • In accessing any changing area/table
      • Dressing themselves
      • Drying themselves
      • in decisions around when nappies are changed

      Consider what options to provide where there is a risk of injury to staff (such as lifting heavy or tall children).

      Use the lens of Te Whāriki to review the nappy change procedure, for example:

      • How children can be empowered in this routine / care moment
      • How independence can be fostered
      • How reciprocal and responsive relationships are fostered, e.g. talking to the child about what is happening
      • Whether nappy changing is an unhurried care moment versus a ‘routine'