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. 


PF33 All-day over 2 sleep space

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 33


      Space is available for children aged two and older to sleep or rest for a reasonable period of time each day. If the space used for sleeping or resting is part of the activity space, there are alternative activity spaces for other children not sleeping or resting as necessary.


      To ensure there are adequate provisions for sleep. The criterion also aims to ensure that children who are not sleeping do not have their activities unduly limited.

  • 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.

      All-day services with only children over the age of 2 attending have a level of choice about the space they provide for sleep. Centres may choose to manage this differently according to their operation or philosophy.

      If the centre chooses to have a scheduled rest or sleep time during the day for all children, then they may choose to turn some of the activity space into a 'sleep/rest area' during that time. However, children who do not wish to sleep or rest must have somewhere to play.

      If the centre prefers to allow children to self-regulate when they need a sleep or rest, they may decide a separate sleep room is a better option for them. Or (if only one or 2 children choose to sleep at a time, and not very frequently) they may provide a quiet area within the activity space that children can go when they want to rest or sleep.