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. 


PF35 Sessional under 2 designated sleep space

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 35


      A designated space is available to support the provision of restful sleep for children under the age of two at any time they are attending. This space is located and designed to:

      • minimise fluctuations in temperature, noise and lighting levels;
      • allow adequate supervision; and
      • accommodate at least the requirements of criterion PF36, when arranged in accordance with criterion HS10.

      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.

      A separate sleep room is not required to meet this criterion, although some services may consider this is preferable for their infants and toddlers.

      A quiet area of the activity space needs to be set aside for use whenever children under the age of 2 need to sleep during a session. The sleeping space should preferably be somewhere that is not a 'high traffic' area of the centre. You can arrange furniture such as couches or shelving to control movement into the area by children, and to provide some barrier against sound.

      Although the area needs to be 'designated' as a sleep space, it can be used by children for play when no children require sleep.