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.
Premises and facilities criterion 31
Clean individual bedding (such as blankets, sheets, sleeping bags, and pillowslips) is provided for sleeping or resting children that is sufficient to keep them warm.
The criterion aims to uphold the wellbeing of children by ensuring that they have clean and warm bedding when sleeping.
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.
Linen must never be shared between children. It must either be washed after every use or stored separately with the child’s name on it. Refer to the guidance for HS11 – Storage of Sleep Provisions.
When putting a child to bed, it is recommended by the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC) that:
- bedding should be sufficient to keep the child warm but not to overheat them
- bedding must be arranged so that it does not cover the child’s face – this is especially important for babies
- children under 2 should not use pillows.