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.

HS14 Inappropriate material

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 14

      All practicable steps are taken to protect children from exposure to inappropriate material (for example, of an explicitly sexual or violent nature).


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children by ensuring that pornographic or violent material (electronic games, DVDs, websites, magazines, etc) is not available to children.

  • 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.

      In a hospital, inappropriate material may also include exposure to frightening or inappropriate sights and sounds connected with medical treatment, equipment and procedures. Without skilled staff and sensitive opportunities to ask questions, express fears, and receive explanations, children can misunderstand what is happening and/or become very anxious.

      Censor classifications on DVDs and games can be used as a guide, however material should be listened to or previewed to check for suitability before sharing it with children.

      What may be regarded as not objectionable under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act may, nevertheless, be inappropriate and harmful to children given the impact of the medium in which the publication is presented and the age of the children to whom the publication is available.

      If there is access to the internet (either for use with the children or in an office) consider password protection and the use of parental locks.

      Exposure to objectionable material may occur inadvertently through normal and legitimate searching activities or by unsolicited email delivery.

      Play specialists should be aware of safe searching techniques and provide information to children on how to react and deal with unsolicited, inappropriate material.

      Netsafe has a range of resources for educators and parents(external link)

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      What kinds of images are children able to see in the surrounding environment as well as in magazines and other print materials available for collage activities (e.g. ‘sealed sections’ and photo spreads appearing in some women’s magazines)?

      Do children have access to the internet when at the service? How can their learning be supported while keeping them safe?