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. 


PF34 All-day over 2 sleep furniture/items

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 34


      Furniture or items intended for children to sleep on (such as cots, beds, stretchers, or mattresses) are available for the sleep or rest of children aged two and older.


      To uphold the well-being of children aged 2 and older by ensuring there is adequate furniture or items for sleep.

  • 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.

      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 service decides to allow children to rest or sleep as and when they need to throughout the day, possibilities include:

      • a comfortable couch that is used for other purposes at other times
      • a bed permanently set up in a convenient place, such as the office (this option can double as an area for isolating sick children as well)
      • a stretcher or mattress that can be pulled out and set up as required in a quiet area of the service.

      If a scheduled sleep or rest time is part of the service's daily routine, then the service will need enough beds, mattresses, stretchers, or mats for every child attending.