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.
PF12 Dining facilities
Premises and Facilities criterion 12
There is a safe and hygienic place for children attending to sit when eating.
To ensure that the areas where children eat are safe and hygienic.
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.
Places for children to sit and eat could include:
- at a dining room or kitchen table
- at a breakfast bar
- at a child-sized table inside or outside
- sitting on the edge of low decks
- sitting on grass or other outdoor surfaces.
High chairs or seats that attach to the edge of a table can be used as places for infants and young toddlers to sit while eating. Their use should be supervised (see the guidance for HS19 – Supervision while Eating).
Table surfaces can generally be made hygienic by spraying with a diluted bleach solution (see the guidance for HS1 – Premises and Contents Are Safe and Hygienic) and then being wiped dry before use. If there is concern table surfaces are not able to be made completely hygienic through wiping, washable covers can be used as a barrier between the table and food. Covers are also a good way of showing children that the table is now an eating place rather than an activity place.
Large easy-to-clean mats spread on the floor or on the grass, benches, and the edges of low decks are also practical ways of providing places for children to sit and eat.
- Things to consider
Things to consider
When meals or snacks are eaten outside, there are some safety and hygiene issues to consider:
- Children sitting directly on grass or safety surfaces such as bark or matting should be encouraged to keep uncovered food on a plate or in their lunch box. This will reduce the chance of food becoming contaminated from contact with the ground.
- Children eating outside need protection from the sun during this time. If possible, locate outdoor eating places under trees, shade sails, covered decks, sun umbrellas, and covered pergolas.