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.

PF7 Outdoor activity space

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 7

      If any outdoor space is used by the playgroup, it is either:

      • enclosed by structures and/or fences and gates that are maintained so that children cannot leave the premises without an adult’s help: or
      • systems are in place to ensure children’s safety while outside.

      This criteria aims to keep children safe by ensuring that measures are in place to secure the outdoor environment.

  • 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.

      Giving children the opportunity to play outside (if a suitable area is available) can increase their chances of having a range of different experiences. If children are playing outside at playgroup, you will need to make sure they are safe. Adequate fencing allows parents and caregivers to be more involved in their children’s play rather than concentrating on supervising the edge of the area (so that children don’t leave unsupervised).

      It can be helpful to write down a list of ‘outside supervision rules’ to let all the parents and caregivers know what they need to do when they are outside with children.

      Children’s safety should always come first. If fencing is less than ideal, (eg a wire fence that children could easily climb through, or a very low wooden fence), or non-existent, you need to consider how easy it is for children to reach potential hazards (such as roads, rivers, or animals) and decide how best to address these concerns. If permanent fencing is not possible, temporary fencing that is put up and taken down each time the playgroup meets could be considered.

      Playgroups should work with their MOE advisor to find satisfactory solutions.