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.

C13 Seeking information

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Curriculum criterion  13

      Information and guidance is sought when necessary from agencies/services to enable adults providing education and care to work effectively with children and their parents.

      Documentation required


      The criterion is underpinned by the belief that a level of collaboration between parents, adults providing education and care, and other agencies as necessary, will result in positive outcomes for children. The criterion aims to ensure that services seek information as needed.

  • 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.

      There are numerous situations in a hospital-based setting where information and guidance from outside agencies and specialist services can enhance the ability of a child to fully access the curriculum and therefore improve their educational outcomes. Support and assistance may be focused on an individual child and family/whānau or on the wider group of children, management, and educators.

      Building stronger links between ECE services, parents and whānau, parenting programmes, medical professionals, health and social services, and other appropriate specialists, allow the children’s learning and development needs to be met more holistically. For timely assistance, it is useful for an early childhood service to establish these links within their community before they are needed.

      It is likely that a large number of specialists will already be working with a child in a hospital-based setting. Before educators approach an additional specialist service, it is important to consult with the parents to ensure that the process is appropriate. Confidentiality issues must always be taken into consideration.

  • Practice
    • Practice

      Examples of what this might look like in practice:

      • Educators know and quickly recognise the factors that suggest that additional specialist information and guidance is required
      • Decisions to seek specialist guidance is made in collaboration with others, including colleagues, parents, and medical staff, and is based on observational evidence
      • Educators have a directory of specialist services and a ready network who will provide guidance and support to parents
      • Documentation is kept in relation to the identification of, and the planned response to, a need to seek additional specialist information and guidance.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Things to consider:

      • How do our policies provide a clear process for identifying when additional support is needed, and for seeking that support?
      • How do we know that we have considered the family’s wishes?
      • How do we go about making contact with specialist services? Do we know where all our local community facilities are?
      • How do our own values and assumptions impact on our decision whether or not to seek support?
      • What are our own assumptions of how specialist support operates?
      • How do we involve parents when accessing specialist services?
      • How does our service integrate advice from specialist services into the curriculum?
      • What are our service’s strategies to fully include children with special needs into our programmes?