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.

PF8 Opportunities for active play

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 8

      If outdoor space is not available, alternative arrangements are made to provide children attending with opportunities for gross motor (physically active) play.


      This criteria is intended to make sure children can benefit from engaging in physically active play when no outdoor area is provided.

  • 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.

      An outdoor area is not a requirement for certification of a playgroup; however, being active and physically healthy is important for a child’s well being.

      Children gaining confidence in, and control of their bodies, and developing an understanding of how to keep physically healthy, is an important aspect of learning which playgroups are required to support.

      You will need to think about how you can provide children with other opportunities for ‘large muscle’ play if your group doesn’t have access to outdoor space.

      Visit the Sport NZ website(external link) for more ideas.

      Some ideas to consider:

      • Furniture or equipment can be set up indoors to make small challenge courses for children.
      • Have some throwing and catching games with soft balls or small bean bags.
      • Sand and water play can be brought inside (with some careful planning and supervision).

      Think about how children can move freely without hurting each other. If children are climbing or sliding or jumping make sure that there is enough cushioning on the floor for safe landing.