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. 


PF9 Adult workspace

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 9

      Ø There is space for adults working at the service to:

      • use for planned breaks;
      • meet privately with parents and colleagues;
      • store curriculum support materials; and
      • assess, plan, and evaluate.

      To ensure adults working at the service have the space and opportunity to plan and reflect, and appropriate spaces to take their breaks during the day. The criterion also aims to ensure that a level of privacy is available when required for parent meetings.

  • 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.

      Adults should have adequate space to meet their own needs as they are working to support the education and care of the children. What this space looks like, and how it is configured, will differ from centre to centre, and is dependent upon a number of factors. These include:

      • the staff numbers
      • the length of time the service operates
      • the type of staff who are employed, that is, if there are any administrative staff.

      In sessional services such as Playcentres, adults can use the furniture and fittings within the activity area when the children are not present.

      An all-day service will need to consider how they can provide an appropriate space for adults, as there are requirements for breaks under employment law.

      Staff space does not have to be located within the licensed premises, but it does need to be situated nearby.

      All services need to ensure confidential information and records can be kept secure. In services without a lockable staff room or office, this can be achieved through the provision of lockable cupboards and/or lockable filing cabinets.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • Where will staff go to have their breaks when children are attending all day?
      • Is there a quiet space for teachers to assess, plan, and evaluate children’s learning?
      • Are adults able to have breaks (or non-contact time) out of sight of the children if they wish?
      • Where will staff go if they need to meet privately with a parent? Is there a place where parents can feel comfortable at the centre?
      • Is it practical or productive for administrative staff to share space with other staff using the space to relax during meal breaks?
      • Will a single workspace or a space allocated within the activity space meet all the centre’s needs, or would it be more practical to have separate spaces?

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