Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

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

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.


For the purposes of these criteria:

‘Assessment’ means the process of noticing children’s learning, recognising its significance, and responding in ways that foster further learning. It includes documenting some, but not necessarily all, of what and how children are learning in order to inform teaching, and make learning visible.

'Coordinator' means the person who has primary responsibility for overseeing the education and care, comfort, and health and safety of the children, and providing professional leadership and support to educators within the service.

‘Culture’ means the understandings, patterns of behaviour, practices, and values shared by a group of people.

'Educator' means the person with the designated role of providing education and care directly to children in his or her care, and attends to the health and safety of those children.

'Excursion’ means:

  • being outside the licensed premises whilst receiving education and care from the services; but
  • does not include an outing for the purposes of emergency evacuations, drills or the receipt of urgent medical attention;
  • regular excursion means – excursions that parents have agreed to at the time of their child’s enrolment, that are part of an ongoing planned and consistent routine of education and care; and
  • special excursion means – excursions that parents have agreed to prior to the excursion taking place, that are not a regular excursion;

‘Medicine’ means any substance used for a therapeutic purpose and includes prescription and non prescription preparations having the meaning assigned to these under Appendix 2.

‘Non-porous material’ means a material which does not allow water to pass through it.

‘Out-of-school care’ means the presence of any child during licensed hours who is aged 13 years or younger, who is enrolled at school, and who is counted towards the total number of children that can be present in the home, in line with the requirements set out in section 19 of the Education and Training Act 2020;(external link)

‘Parent’ means:

  • the person (or people) responsible for having the role of providing day to day care for the child; and
  • may include a biological or adoptive parent, step-parent, partner of a parent of a child, legal guardian or member of the child’s family, whānau or other culturally recognised family group;

‘Philosophy’ means a statement that:

  • outlines the fundamental beliefs, values, and ideals that are important to the people involved in the service – management, adults providing education and care, parents, families/whānau, and perhaps the wider community;
  • identifies what is special about the service; and
  • is intended to be the basis for decisions about the way the service is managed and about its direction in the future.

‘Policy’ means a statement intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters.

‘Premises’ means a home in which education and care is to be provided, and its associated outdoor space;

‘Procedure’ means a particular and established way of doing something.

‘Process’ means a goal-directed, interrelated series of actions, events, procedures, or steps.

'Records’ means information or data on a particular subject collected and preserved.

'Regulation' means a regulation under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

'Service' means a home-based education and care service.

'Service curriculum’ means all of the experiences, interactions, activities and events - both direct and indirect, planned, and spontaneous - that happen at the service. Teaching practices including planning, assessment, and evaluation form part of the service curriculum.

'Service provider' means the body, agency, or person who or that operates the home-based education and care service.

‘Specified agency’ means any government agency or statutory body that a home-based education and care service is required to notify if there is a serious (or as defined) injury, illness, incident or allegation. This may include but is not limited to: the New Zealand Police; the Ministry of Health; Oranga Tamariki; WorkSafe New Zealand; and the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.