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.

HS18 Water supply

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 18

      An ample supply of water that is fit to drink is available to children at all times, and older children are able to access this water independently.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring they have access to a safe drinking water supply. Requirement for independent access is based on evidence that self-access to water enables children to maintain an adequate level of hydration.

  • 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.

      Good access to an ample supply of water that is fit to drink needs to be provided for children attending. Older children need to be able to access this water independently.

      There are different ways this could be achieved, depending on the age of the children attending the home. These include:

      • using individually marked water bottles or sipper cups. Water bottles or sipper cups will need to be emptied and washed daily
      • making a water jug and individual cups available for children to pour their own water.

      Guidelines concerning the provision of potable (drinkable) water should be available from your District Health Board.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Homes in rural or isolated areas that are not on a town water supply and use springs, bores or water tanks need to ensure that the water is fit to drink.

      There are a number of resources available on the safety of household water from water tanks and bores.