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.


For the purposes of these criteria:

‘Adults providing education and care' means hospital play specialists kaiako, teachers, supervisors, parent helpers, kaiawhina, fa’iaoga, or other adults who have a designated role of providing education and care to children at a service and are included in required adult:child ratios.

‘Assessment’ means the process of noticing children’s learning, recognising its significance, and responding in ways that foster further learning. It includes documenting some, but not necessarily all, of what and how children are learning in order to inform teaching, and make learning visible.

‘Culture’ means the understandings, patterns of behaviour, practices, and values shared by a group of people.

'ECE' means early childhood education.

‘Excursion’ means:

  • being outside the licensed premises whilst receiving education and care from the service; but
  • does not include an outing for the purposes of emergency evacuations, drills or the receipt of urgent medical attention.

‘Parent’ means:

  • the person (or people) responsible for having the role of providing day to day care for the child; and
  • may include a biological or adoptive parent, step-parent, partner of a parent of a child, legal guardian or member of the child’s family, whānau or other culturally recognised family group;

‘Philosophy’ means a statement that:

  • outlines the fundamental beliefs, values and ideals that are important to the people involved in the service – management, adults providing education and care, parents, families/whānau, and perhaps the wider community;
  • identifies what is special about the service; and
  • is intended to be the basis for decisions about the way the service is managed and about its direction in the future;

‘Policy’ means a statement intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters.

‘Premises’ means the parts of the hospital where children participating in the service receive early childhood education and care.

‘Procedure’ means a particular and established way of doing something.

‘Process’ means a goal-directed, interrelated series of actions, events, procedures, or steps.

'Records’ means information or data on a particular subject collected and preserved.

'Regulation' means a regulation under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

'Required adult:child ratio' means the adult:child ratio with which the service provider is required to comply under regulation 44(1)(b) or any direction by the Secretary under regulation 54(2).

'Service' means a hospital-based education and care service.

'Service curriculum’ means all of the experiences, interactions, activities and events – both direct and indirect, planned and spontaneous - that happen at the service. Teaching practices including planning, assessment, and evaluation form part of the service curriculum.

'Service provider' means the body, agency, or person who or that operates the hospital-based education and care service.