Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based 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, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

C3 Interactions

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion  3

      Adults providing education and care engage in meaningful, positive interactions to enhance children’s learning and nurture reciprocal relationships.

      Documentation required


      Criterion is a means of ensuring that the service curriculum is consistent with the prescribed curriculum framework, and recognises the key importance of adult-child interactions.

  • 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.

      Relationships are a source of learning, empowerment, and identity for all of us. As educators if we believe everything we do has an impact on learning and teaching, we have a responsibility to engage in responsive and respectful relationships with children, families/whānau and each other.

      Interaction provides a rich social world for children to make sense of and understand. Educators provide encouragement, warmth, acceptance, and challenges to help children extend their ideas and understanding of the world.

      How services support and organise staff to ensure that children experience stable and predictable relationships with educators is important to enhance learning and care experiences for children.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Co-operative ventures and achievements are valued and encouraged
      • Educators listen carefully to children, asking open and searching questions to encourage complex learning and thinking
      • Educators use daily care routines as opportunities to have meaningful interactions with children
      • The service curriculum develops children’s skills in forming and maintaining positive relationships with others
      • Infants experience one-to-one interactions which are intimate and sociable
      • Adults are warm and friendly in their interactions with other adults
      • The service curriculum provides opportunities for children to play together for sustained periods in groups of their own choosing
      • Strong relationships are formed between children and educators due to low turnover of staff
      • Children’s actions demonstrate that they trust educators to respond in a positive way
      • Educators respond quickly and directly to children, adapting their responses to individual children. They provide support, focused attention, physical proximity, and verbal encouragement as appropriate, are alert to signs of stress in children’s behaviour, and guide children in expressing their emotions.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How would we explain to others how children’s learning is supported through meaningful and positive interactions? 
      • How are reciprocal relationships reflected in our setting?
      • What do we understand about the notion of whanaungatanga?
      • How is it reflected in our service?
      • What strategies do we use in our teaching practice to be ‘in-tune’ with children?
      • How do we ensure that every child has the opportunity to develop a strong, reciprocal relationship with at least one educator?
      • How does the language that we use empower children?
      • How does our team define an engaged learner?