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. 


PF37 All-day under 2 sleep space

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 37


      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 PF38, when arranged in accordance with criterion HS10.

      To uphold the well-being of children under the age of 2 by ensuring there are adequate provisions for sleep to take account of the needs and sleep patterns of individual children.

  • 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.

      Services are required to provide children under 2 years with the opportunity to have restful sleep at any time they are attending the centre.

      The opportunity for restful sleep is provided by the centre having a designated space where fluctuations in temperature, noise and lighting levels can be minimised. Adequate supervision of sleeping children is required.

      Services could have more than one designated sleeping space. All criteria must be met for any and all designated sleep spaces. In mixed age settings, many services choose to use their designated space(s) for children of all ages (not just under 2s), because they find supervision easier when all children sleep in the same place.

      The designated space for sleeping children under 2 years, and any storage space for furniture and items not permanently set up, will be excluded from the measurement of the indoor activity area (as per Schedule 4 in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link)).

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Children require sufficient restful sleep to become self-managing, be effective learners and to make the most of the learning opportunities provided by ECE. Services are encouraged to actively engage in discussions with parents for guidance on the sleep requirements for their child and how these can best be met in a manner consistent with the regulations. The designated space(s) should recognise cultural practices of the communities.

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