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. 


PF26 Body wash facilities

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and Facilities criterion 26

      § Ø There are suitable facilities provided for washing sick or soiled children and a procedure outlining how hygiene and infection control outcomes will be met when washing sick and soiled children.

      Documentation required:

      A procedure outlining how the service will ensure hygiene and infection control outcomes are met when washing sick and soiled children.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and wellbeing of children by ensuring that there are suitable facilities and practices for washing children who vomit or soil themselves while attending the service so that the risk of cross infection is reduced.

  • 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.

      Sometimes children at the centre will need to have all or part of their bodies washed. This might be necessary, for example:

      • at nappy change time – if wipes are not enough to ensure the soiled child is cleaned thoroughly
      • if a child has vomited over themselves
      • if a child has had a toileting accident
      • if children become very dirty during play.

      Services need suitable facilities for the children being washed. Services need to ensure the facilities and procedures foster children’s independence as appropriate and protect children’s dignity and right to privacy.

      A shower, shub or bath is likely to be the most suitable facility depending on the age and size of the child. The need to occasionally wash or bathe older children is usually best met with a shower rather than a tub, using a hand-held shower head with warm water. It is normally only needed for toileting accidents or if a child has been sick.

      If a plumbing fixture is not available, service providers will need to consider how they will ensure sick or soiled children are washed easily and hygienically.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Specific considerations should include the following:

      • How readily can adults provide for the safe and comfortable washing of a sick or soiled infant, toddler or child?
      • Will your procedure or facility ensure the child’s right to privacy and dignity is protected and promoted while they are being washed?
      • How will you ensure your procedure/facility maximises adult health and safety?
      • How will body waste and waste water be disposed of safely and hygienically?

      This is a criterion where health expertise can provide guidance on hygienic practices and the control of infection. Service providers are also reminded that under Regulation 55, the Ministry of Education may require a service provider to obtain a report from a Public Health Unit in order to assess whether the facilities and procedures used at the centre are adequate to prevent the spread of infection.

      New services or services considering renovations should be aware of the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code(external link).