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. 


PF31 Bedding

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      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.

  • 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.

      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(external link).

      As well as being warm, children should be safe while they sleep. Advice on safe sleeping to reduce risk of Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant (SUDI) is available here: 

      Safe sleep guidance