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. 


HS9 Sleep monitoring

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 9

      A procedure for monitoring children's sleep is displayed and implemented and a record of children's sleep times is kept.

      Documentation required:

      1. A procedure for monitoring children's sleep. The procedure ensures that children:

        • do not have access to food or liquids while in bed; and
        • are checked for warmth, breathing, and general well-being at least every 5-10 minutes, or more frequently according to individual needs.

      2. A record of the time each child attending the service sleeps, and checks made by adults during that time.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children while they are sleeping, and minimise risk of harm.

      Amended May 2015

  • 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 documented sleep procedure ensures a consistent approach by adults at the service to how they monitor the safety and wellbeing of children while sleeping. It will clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of the adults at the service when children are sleeping.

      The sleep procedure must be displayed so all adults at the service understand what is expected and parents know what will occur.

      Keeping a record of sleeping times and checks by adults will ensure that parents have access to important information about their child's sleeping patterns while at the service.

      It demonstrates the fulfilment of the service’s duty of care; that children have been suitably monitored while sleeping to ensure their safety and wellbeing while in the care of the service.

      See Things to Consider for suggestions of other points to consider for sleep procedures.

      Keeping records:

      Keep the sleep records for the current year plus one additional year.

      Services can record sleep in a variety of ways. These include:

      • a daily ‘sleep sheet’ (with date, names of children, times they slept, the name/signature of those checking them while in bed (every 5-10 minutes), and any other comments.
      • a whiteboard/ blackboard recording information for that session or day of operation. These services must develop a way to retain this information, how they do this is up to them as long as these records can be accessed.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      It may be useful for a service to include all information about sleep in one place such as the sleep procedure which may include aspects such as:
      • The times of rest periods (e.g. structured or according to the needs of the individual child).
      • Designation of the sleep space within the premises (and how non-sleeping children will be kept separate while the sleep area is in use).
      • Minimum number of teachers responsible for supervision of sleeping children.
      • Monitoring will include checking for warmth, breathing, general well-being every 5-10 minutes or more frequently according to the needs of the child. This will be recorded along with the time of the check and the name of the adult checking.
      • Children not having access to liquids or food while in bed.
      • The need to inform parents of their children’s sleep patterns each day.
      • How sleep times and checks will be recorded and the information relayed to parents and stored.
      • How parents will be informed of this procedure (e.g. at point of enrolment, as part of induction process to service).