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.
Premises and facilities criterion 10
Floor surfaces in any ECE Activity Room are durable, safe and suitable for the activities to be carried out at the service (including wet and messy play), and can easily be kept clean.
To uphold a minimum level of quality education as well as safety for children.
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.
Floor surfaces should be easy to clean and suitable for the activities being undertaken. Well maintained wooden, particle, cork, polished concrete, tiles or vinyl floors are most suitable in an area used for messy play, while carpet is better in a book or block area. Consider how much time children spend on the floor when choosing a floor type.
It is a good rule of thumb to have about 2-thirds hard surface (or similar) and one-third carpet in the ECE activity room. This is because a lot of messy play materials – such as paint, clay and water – are transported to other areas.
It is good for infants to have the opportunity to experience a range of textures. A range of mixed flooring types may be one way to provide this.