Certification criteria for playgroups

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines a playgroup as a group that meets on a regular basis to facilitate children's play and in respect of which—

  1. no child attends for more than 4 hours on any day; and
  2. more than half the children attending on any occasion have a parent or caregiver present in the same play area at the same time; and
  3. the total number of children attending on any occasion is not greater than 4 times the number of parents and caregivers present in the same play area at the same time.

Playgroups include Puna Kōhungahunga, cultural playgroups and community language playgroups.

Playgroups are certificated in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each certificated playgroup must meet. Certification criteria are used to assess how playgroups meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help playgroups meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.1 MB] and printed.

The certification criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS10 Inappropriate material

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety criterion 10

      All practicable steps are taken to protect children from exposure to inappropriate material (for example, of an explicitly sexual or violent nature).


      The criteria aims to uphold the safety and well being of children by ensuring that pornographic or violent material (written, visual or electronic) is not available to 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.

      When playgroups meet in buildings that are also used for other purposes or by other groups, it is possible for children to be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing material. Posters, magazines, pamphlets, etc, that are intended for adults might be disturbing or inappropriate for young children.

      Assessing material

      Censor classifications can be used as a guide, however you should preview or listen to material to check for suitability before sharing it with children.

      What may be regarded as not objectionable under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act may, nevertheless, be inappropriate and harmful to children given the impact of the medium in which the publication is presented and the age of the children to whom the publication is available.

      Use of computers, iPads etc

      Supervising children using computers or iPads at your playgroup is essential. If your playgroup has access to the internet (either for use with the children or in an office) you should consider password protection and the use of parental locks.

      Exposure to objectionable material may occur inadvertently through normal and legitimate searching activities or by unsolicited email delivery.


  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      • What can children see or hear when they are at the playgroup?
      • What kinds of images can children see in magazines and other print materials available for collage activities (e.g. ‘sealed sections’ and photo spreads appearing in some women’s magazines)?
      • How would adults respond when children bring inappropriate material from home?
      • Do children have access to the internet when at the playgroup? If so:
        • Consider the use of software programmes available to support safe searching techniques
        • Parents should be aware of safe searching techniques and provide information to children on how to react and deal with unsolicited, inappropriate material.

      Netsafe, the Internet Safety Group, has developed Acceptable Use Policy templates for ECE Services, and Parents/Caregivers. The templates may be downloaded from Netsafe.