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 March 2023.
HS4 Emergency plan and supplies
Health and Safety practices criterion 4
There are a written emergency plan and supplies to ensure the care and safety of the children and educator at the home and when away from the home. The plan must include evacuation procedures that apply in a variety of emergency situations and that are relevant to the home.
⚐ The written emergency plan must also include out-of-school care children if out-of-school care is being provided in the home.
If the home is in a building that has an approved Fire Evacuation scheme, the evacuation procedures must be consistent with that scheme.
A written emergency plan that includes at least:
- An evacuation procedure for the premises.
- A list of safety and emergency supplies and resources sufficient for the age and number of children and adults present in the home and details of how these will be maintained and accessed in an emergency.
- A communication plan for families and support services.
- Evidence of review of the plan on, at least, an annual basis.
- Implementation of improved practices as required.
The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by ensuring that the premises have an adequate plan for evacuating children in the event of fire or another emergency. The criterion also aims to ensure that adults at the service have the necessary knowledge and supplies to deal with other emergency situations.
Amended November 2016
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.
Home-based service providers and educators will need to work together to ensure there is a plan developed for dealing with emergencies.
If the home does not have a landline, the educator will need to ensure they have a means of accessing appropriate help and support.
The evacuation procedure must cover all emergency situations. The service provider is responsible for ensuring there is a procedure for each home.
Educators must think about the possible emergency situations they might encounter in the home. Preparing for an emergency situation is an important part of the induction process that the co-ordinator carries out with each educator.
In an emergency situation, the educator (as the only adult nearby) often needs to deal directly with emergency service personnel when they arrive at the scene. This makes it very important to have an evacuation procedure and to have a safe place for children to wait while the emergency is dealt with. For more information see HS5 - safe assembly areas.
It may be more difficult to evacuate children from homes that are not at ground level in the event of an emergency. Your evacuation procedure will need to identify ways to mitigate this. Additional guidance is available specifically for services above ground level, we recommend you read Guidance for ECE Services - Evacuation from High Rise Buildings [PDF, 394 KB]
If the home is in a building with other tenants there will be a fire evacuation scheme approved by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand that applies to the whole building and all tenants, and this is the responsibility of the building owner.
The National Emergency Management Agency have a What’s the Plan Stan website(external link) which focuses on helping children prepare for an emergency and a special section which aims to support educators to develop children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes to respond to and prepare for an emergency.
The National Emergency Management Agency and the Ministry of Education have produced a template that can be used for planning for a variety of emergencies. Ministry of Education's Emergency Evacuation Management Plan Template.
The Ministry also has planning guidance and a quick checklist for your overall emergency management plan.
Emergency planning guidance – Ministry of Education
Emergency planning checklist – Ministry of Education
Educators should have emergency supplies on hand in the home. If providing out-of-school care:
- the emergency plan needs to include how all children in the home will be safely evacuated at the same time
- school aged children must not be expected to help carry non-walking children or be responsible for evacuating ECE children
- the emergency supplies in the home should be sufficient to also provide for the older children who are also present in the home.