Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services
Section 15 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines an early childhood education and care centre as premises 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 being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6—
- by the 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, 2.1 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in April 2021.
PF36 Sessional under 2 cot:child ratio
Premises and facilities criterion 36
SESSIONAL SERVICES ONLY:
Furniture or items intended for children to sleep on (such as cots, beds, stretchers, or mattresses) are provided at a ratio of at least one to every 5 children under the age of two.
To uphold the well-being of children under the age of 2 by ensuring there is adequate furniture and items for sleep available to meet the requirements of the ratio for the children attending the service.
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.
Centres need adequate facilities to cater for occasions when an older child needs to rest or sleep. How a service provides these facilities depends on what suits their particular centre layout and operation.
If the centre decides to allow children to rest or sleep as and when they need to throughout the day (either in a separate room or in a quiet area of the service) then the stated ratio of 1 to 5 needs to be met. It is important that children have something to lie down on when they want to sleep or rest, and do not have to wait.
If a scheduled sleep or rest time is part of the centre’s daily routine, then one cot, bed, stretcher, or mattress will be needed for each child attending.