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. 


PF7 Safety glass

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 7

      Any windows or other areas of glass accessible to children are either:

      • made of safety glass; or
      • covered by an adhesive film designed to hold the glass in place in the event of it being broken; or
      • effectively guarded by barriers which prevent a child striking or falling against the glass.

      To ensure children’s safety by reducing the risk of injury from glass.

  • 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.

      Broken glass presents a safety risk to children and adults. Children can be seriously injured if they fall against or strike unprotected windows, doors, and mirrors. The most effective way of ensuring children and adults do not receive injuries from broken glass is to either prevent the glass from being broken or by ensuring that if the glass is broken it does not cut or pierce the skin.

      Laminated safety glass or toughened safety glass is much stronger than ordinary glass and breaks less easily. When it does break, it does not splinter into sharp jagged pieces. This greatly reduces the risk of injury.

      The Building Act makes it mandatory for all windows and doors in ‘high risk’ areas of new buildings to be safety-glazed. To check if the premises has safety glass fitted, either look for the safety standard logo etched into the corner of the glass panes or ask a glazier to check windows and glass doors and give a written attestation that they have safety glass.

      Deciding which glassed areas are 'accessible to children' in the centre (and therefore need to be protected) should involve consideration of:

      • its height from the floor (generally, anything below 80cm can be reached by young children)
      • furniture or other items nearby that children are likely to climb onto that would bring them within reach of the glass.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      If the ECE centre is being established in an existing building, children can be protected by:

      • having barriers that prevent children from falling against glass surfaces
      • fitting safety glass in windows or doors that children can reach
      • treating non-safety-glazed windows, doors, and low-level mirrors with safety film
      • treating wired glass panels with safety film.