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.

PF4 Toilet/hand washing facilities

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 4

      There is a toilet and hygienic handwashing and drying facilities suitable for the use of children attending.


      This criteria is intended to ensure that there are hygienic handwashing, drying and toileting facilities for 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.

      The buildings that playgroups meet in may not have toileting and handwashing facilities designed for young children. If children can’t easily use these facilities by themselves parents and caregivers will need to help them.

      The following may make it easier for children to use these facilities:

      • A moveable step, and/or a toilet seat insert can be helpful for young children learning to use the toilet. They can also be easily removed when an adult needs to use the toilet.
      • Paper towels or individual hand towels are more hygienic than a single communal towel.
      • Liquid soap (rather than a communal bar of soap) can be less messy and is more hygienic.
      • Careful supervision is necessary for young children if there are hot taps in the bathroom to prevent scalding. Older children can be taught about hot water safety.

      If the hand basins are too far away from your main meeting room and you want the children to wash their hands (after painting, or before eating, for example), you might consider using a soapy flannel (that you rinse after each child has used it) or wet wipes. Do not provide a single container (like a bucket or basin) filled with water for all the children to use as this is not hygienic.