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. 


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 service provider 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 flowchart [PDF, 74 KB] to show what you need to do when there is a notifiable event at your service.

      The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) requires you to notify Worksafe of fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses that happen to workers and others as a result of work. Worksafe has detailed information about making a notification here(external link). For early learning services, "others" includes children, parents and visitors.

      Make a notification of a child's serious injury or illness if it:

      • is a serious injury or illness which occurred as a result of work activity and
      • needs immediate admission to hospital or
      • needs treatment by a doctor within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

      Examples of an injury or illness occurring as a result of a work activity include, but aren't limited to, a child:

      • falling from a height during a nappy change
      • ingesting a cleaning product that wasn't stored securely
      • sustaining a serious injury from play equipment

      Documentation guidance

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