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. 


HS11 Storage of sleep furniture and bedding

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 11

      § If not permanently set up, furniture or items intended for children to sleep on (such as cots, beds, stretchers, or mattresses) and bedding is hygienically stored when not in use.


      The criterion aims to prevent cross-infection by ensuring that sleep provisions used periodically (i.e. not permanently set up) are hygienically stored when not in use.

  • 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.

      Furniture, such as cots, beds, stretchers or mattresses and bedding used periodically needs to be hygienically stored when not in use in order to prevent cross-infection.

      Spraying and wiping cots, beds and mattresses with a suitable cleaning agent is needed before storage.

      Linen must be removed from the mattresses and not stacked in between mattresses.

      If bedding is to be used for the same child over the course of a week it should be labelled with the child’s name or placed in a clean labelled bag.

      Centres need to ensure there is adequate hygienic storage for this purpose such as wall hooks for linen bags. A cupboard or area which children cannot access is useful.

      Ensure that storage

      • does not create hazards to children but is easily accessible to adults.
      • Is not in the toilet or nappy changing area.