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.

PF7 Design and layout

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 7

      The design and layout of any ECE Activity Room supports the provision of a range of different types of learning experiences that are appropriate to the number, ages, abilities, and specific mobility or treatment needs of the children likely to use it.


      To ensure that children have access to an environment that is 'fit for purpose' – that is, can support a range of activities.

  • 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.

      The ECE activity room needs to be designed and laid out so the physical environment supports the way the curriculum can be provided. Activity spaces need to be configured to allow for a range of learning experiences, as well as meeting the minimum space per child requirement.

      The primary purpose of an activity room is to facilitate group activity and the provision of play experiences that cannot be easily taken to the child at their bedside.