Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020 defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to fewer than 5 children under the age of 6 (in addition to any child enrolled at school who is the child of the person who provides education or care) in:

  1. their own homes
  2. the home of the person providing education or care
  3. any other home nominated by the parents of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 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, 541 KB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in November 2016.

Licensing Criteria Cover

HS16 Food and nutrition

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 16

      Food is served at appropriate times to meet the nutritional needs of each child while they are attending. Where food is provided by the educator it is of sufficient variety, quantity, and quality to meet these needs. When food is provided by parents, the service encourages and promotes healthy eating guidelines.

      Documentation required:

      A record of all food served to children while they are participating in the service (other than that provided by parents for their own children). Records show the type of food provided, and are available for inspection for 3 months after the food is served.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health, safety and wellbeing of children by ensuring the service meets their nutritional needs or alternatively encourages parents to do so. Record-keeping requirements serve two purposes; a) to demonstrate compliance with the criterion; and b) to provide useful information in the event of any allergic reactions that may develop in children attending.

  • 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.

      In a home-based setting food can be provided in a number of ways:

      • if in the child’s home, food will likely be provided by their parents;
      • in the educator’s home, food could either be provided by the educator or the child will bring a lunchbox prepared by their parents;
      • a combination of a brought lunch, and the educator providing morning and afternoon tea.

      Where the educator is providing food, the nutritional needs of children under the age of 2 needs to be considered.

      Children with known allergies are to be supervised when selecting from shared food or encouraged to eat their own food only.

      Documentation Guidance

      Educators must write down any food served to children not provided by their parents.

      This includes:

      • food provided to grandchildren of educators while they are participating in the service;
      • baking activities where the educator provides the food; and
      • shared morning teas at a playgroup.

  • Things to consider