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, 2.1 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in January 2022.
Premises and facilities
45 Premises and facilities standard: general
(1) The premises and facilities standard: general is the standard that requires every licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies—
(a) to use premises and facilities that, having regard to the number and age range of the children attending the premises, provide sufficient and suitable space for a range of activities, facilities for food preparation, eating, sleeping, storage, toileting, and washing, and sufficient and suitable heating, lighting, noise control, ventilation, and equipment to support —
i.appropriate curriculum implementation by the service provider; and
ii.safe and healthy practices by the service provider; and
(b) to comply with the requirements of Schedule 4 (which relates to activity spaces).
(2) Each licensed service provider to whom this regulation applies must comply with the premises and facilities standard: general.
The criteria in this section are grouped together by topic. Each criterion has also been given a short, descriptive title. These titles are provided only to help you navigate around more easily on the website – they do not form part of the criteria themselves.