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.


The Playgroup Funding Handbook provides further clarification of the changes associated with the introduction of the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 which came into force on 1 December 2008.

Licence-exempt and certificated playgroups now need to meet the same funding rules and requirements to be eligible for funding. Differences in the amount of funding available to Licence-exempt and certificated playgroups remain in recognition of the quality assurance provided by the certification process.

Playgroups recognised as Licence-exempt prior to 1 December 2008 must continue to meet the definition of a playgroup published in the Education Gazette on 15 February 1991 to remain eligible for funding. Playgroups established after 1 December 2008 must hold a current interim or full certificate to be eligible for funding.