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. 


PF2 Premises support effective supervision

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 2

      The design and layout of the premises support effective adult supervision so that children's access to the licensed space (indoor and outdoor) is not unnecessarily limited.


      To ensure the children's use of the environment is not unduly restricted by design limitations that make adequate supervision difficult.

  • 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.

      Supervision is an important element in ensuring children are safe while attending the centre. The physical environment in centres needs to be designed and laid out so effective supervision is easy.

      This does not necessarily mean all parts of the service must be visible to all adults at all times. However, potential ‘blind spots’ caused by the placement of the building on the land, the shape of the section, or the interior layout do need to be identified and added to a centre’s hazard check sheet along with the mitigation strategy to ensure all staff and educators are aware of any issues.

      Adults should be able to scan the environment while working alongside children, instead of needing to be constantly ‘on patrol’.