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.

HS34 Supervision

  • Criterion
    • Criterion

      Every educator must ensure that they actively supervise children at all times when children are in attendance at the service. This must be implemented in accordance with the service's supervision plan. 

      Documentation Required:

      A written supervision plan that ensures the health, safety and wellbeing of children enrolled in the service is maintained at all times.

      The plan must be specific to the premises and the number, age, abilities and enrolled hours of the children attending and must show how the educator will actively supervise children attending the service. It must include, but is not limited to:

      1. How the premises will be arranged, across all indoor and outdoor spaces likely to be used at any time while children are attending the home, to enhance supervision of children.
      2. How children will be supervised while they are;
        • involved in activities or routines (such as sleeping, eating and toileting) in separate parts of the home;
        • using play equipment and resources, both indoors and outdoors;
        • interacting with other people in the home, including visitors; and
        • using technology or while they are in the presence of technology while it is being used by others in the home.

      Related to clause 46(1)(a) of standard.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring they are adequately supervised at all times.

      Added November 2016

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Children need a safe, secure environment which is effectively supervised. The type of supervision required will change depending on the layout of the home environment, the activities being undertaken, the number of children, and the ages and the individual needs of the children. Supervision can ensure that children’s play is enjoyable and their learning opportunities are promoted. Through careful observation, educators will see opportunities for supporting and building on children’s play experiences and identify when children wish to play independent of adult involvement.

      Educators effectively supervise children by actively watching and attending to their environment. They should avoid carrying out activities that will draw their attention away from supervision.

      Supervision is not just watching the children. It requires focused and intentional observation of children.

      Active supervision takes advantage of all available learning opportunities and means never leaving children unattended. It means being able to monitor (see or hear) all children at all times, including indoors, outdoors and when sleeping. Educators should use their professional judgment and common sense when deciding when it is appropriate to have any children out of their direct line of sight. For example, for older children who want to use the toilet with some privacy, it is appropriate to supervise by remaining in hearing distance.

      Active supervision of children can be achieved in a number of ways including:

      • Direct and constant monitoring by the educator in close proximity to the children when supervising an activity with some element of risk, for example cooking experiences and any activity that is near water.
      • Careful positioning of the educator to ensure they are observing the children and are close enough to intervene promptly to prevent injury.
      • Scanning or regularly looking around to observe all children and to be aware when one moves out of view.
      • Listening closely to children near and far to supervise areas not in the educator’s direct line of sight. This is particularly useful when listening out for sleeping children or older children using the bathroom.
      • Observing children’s play and anticipating what may happen next will allow educators to assist children as difficulties arise and to intervene where there is potential danger.
      • Balancing activities to ensure risk is minimised.

      The following areas can be included in a Supervision Plan:

      Set up of the environment

      Educators should set up the environment so that they can supervise the children at all times. When activities for different children are grouped together and furniture is at waist height or shorter, educators are always able to see and hear children. Small spaces should be kept clear of clutter and larger spaces are set up so children have clear play spaces that educators can observe.

      Where there is outdoor play equipment available at the home, educators need to be aware of children’s abilities to safely use the equipment and to be able to teach the children the appropriate and safe use of the equipment (e.g. using a slide feet-first only and explaining why climbing up a slide can cause injury) .

      Where there are electronic devices, they should be used under the direct supervision of the educator.

      Any activity where children play with, near or in water poses a high safety risk. In such a situation, the educator should have constant visual contact and be in close proximity to the children at all times. If the educator needs to move away from the area they should take all children with them away from the water.

      Working in the home

      Educators should ensure there are always clear paths to where children are playing, sleeping and eating so they can react quickly if needed. This is particularly important when children are attempting an activity for the first time or engaged in a high risk activity. For example, if a child is using play equipment such as climbing apparatus, the educator should be close enough to ensure equipment is being used correctly and to reach the child if they slip or fall.

      Scanning the environment

      Educators need to continually scan the environment so they know where the children are. Counting the children frequently is especially important if there is a larger number or age range of children attending.


      Specific sounds or the absence of them may signify reason for concern and alert an educator to signs of potential danger.

      Anticipating children’s behaviour

      Educators should use what they know about each child’s individual interests and abilities to predict what they will do. This can support the educator to see the potential for harm or recognise when a child might wander, get upset or take a dangerous risk. This should be balanced with allowing children the freedom to attempt new experiences and to play independently.