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 April 2021.
PF5 Safe Furniture and Equipment
Premises and facilities criterion 5
All indoor and outdoor items and surfaces, furniture, equipment and materials are safe and suitable for their intended use.
To ensure that all items used by children are of a standard that is considered safe.
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.
One way to ensure children’s safety is to make sure that the indoor and outdoor furniture and equipment within your centre complies with the New Zealand Safety Standards.
The New Zealand Standard for playground equipment and surfacing is NZS5828:2015 Playground equipment and surfacing.
Before purchasing new equipment or safety surfacing, service providers should ensure the product has been tested against the specifications of NZS5828:2015 and the manufacturer can supply a certificate of compliance for that product.
Services should check with any potential manufacturer/supplier that a certificate of compliance is available before purchase (for example, a certificated manufacturer may have added a new piece of equipment to its range since certification and the new product may not comply with NZS5828:2015).
Newly installed playground equipment or safety surfacing must have a certificate of compliance to show it is installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. These may be asked for during the licence assessment process.
It is the responsibility of the service to ensure new playground equipment is compliant. If the furniture or equipment does not come with proof of compliance, ask the supplier to provide the appropriate evidence.
Where structures or equipment have not been designed, built and installed by a commercial manufacturer, as a minimum centres need to demonstrate:
- evidence of ongoing routine maintenance inspection of structure/s and equipment for compliance with the following provisions of NZS5828:2015:
- entrapment provisions
- fall zones (including free height fall provisions), and
- structural adequacy, and
- a risk-management appraisal of any issues identified.
If the inspection is carried out by a person other than a qualified inspector a Playground Inspection Attestation Form [DOCX, 11 KB] stating that the structure/equipment is safe for use will need to be signed by the person completing the inspection.
Centres should take all reasonable steps to ensure equipment is kept in good repair and maintained regularly. A regular inspection programme to ensure equipment and surfacing are properly maintained is advised. This will ensure any necessary repairs and maintenance can be completed promptly.