Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services

The Education Act 1989 S310 defines an early childhood education and care centre as premises 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 being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6—

  1. by the day or part of a day; but
  2. 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 Act 1989 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 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, 719 KB] and printed. 

The licensing criteria were last updated in May 2016.


Licensing Criteria Cover

HS34 Incident notification to the Ministry of Education

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Where there is a serious injury or illness or incident involving a child while at the service that is required to be notified to a specified agency, the service provider must also notify the Ministry of Education at the same time.

      Documentation required:

      A copy of the notification sent to the specified agency.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      A specified agency is any government agency or statutory body that a centre is required to notify if there is a serious (or as defined) injury, illness, incident or allegation.

      This may include but is not limited to:

      The Ministry and WorkSafe have produced a factsheet to see what events need to be notified [PDF, 1.5 MB].

      After the incident has been managed on site (e.g. first aid provided, parents notified, specified agency notified), you must then call your Ministry area office adviser to inform them of the incident. Then you should send them a copy of the notification.

      Once notified, the Ministry of Education will follow up with the service to ensure any recommended actions are put in place.

      Documentation guidance:

      A copy of the notification sent to the specified agency is required to be sent to the Ministry of Education.