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, 1.6 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.
PF4 Variety of equipment
Premises and Facilities criterion 4
A variety of equipment and materials is provided that is appropriate for the learning and abilities of the children attending.
The criterion aims to uphold a minimum level of quality education by ensuring that children have access to a range of suitable and safe equipment and materials.
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.
Children learn by interacting with people and with their environment. The furniture, equipment, and resources provided for children will have an impact upon their learning.
Home settings provide children with opportunities to engage in experiences that are relevant to their own lives. Children should be able to access equipment and materials that support their interests, skills and abilities.
All equipment and resources available to children must be safe and able to be kept hygienic. See HS1 - Premises and contents are safe and hygienic for how to keep equipment hygienic.
Think about the size, sturdiness and durability of items available to children, especially infants and toddlers.
Some home-based service providers have a range of equipment and resources available for educators to loan and educators may belong to toy libraries.
- Things to consider
Things to consider
Consider making use of existing resources and equipment within the home to enhance children’s learning opportunities. In addition to a range of things like books, blocks, art equipment, etc, consider using existing materials and activities that take place in the home environment as learning experiences for children. For example, baking, cooking, gardening and washing dishes are activities that are easy to provide in the home setting.
Consider how the furniture, equipment, and resources you provide in the home will:
- promote and protect written and spoken language of children attending
- be non-sexist and inclusive
- support parents' aspirations for their children’s learning
- reflect different attitudes and feelings
- provide for group and individual play
- provide for children’s current and emerging interests
- provide opportunities for choice, planning, and problem solving
- be relevant and challenging for the range of ages and abilities of children attending.
Consider a balance between natural products and man-made equipment and materials. Plastic products are usually cheaper and easy to clean, but they do not usually last as long or have the same aesthetic appeal as products made from natural materials.