Starting a centre-based ECE service
Click on the links below for information on starting a centre-based licensed early learning service.
Designing and building – step-by-step guide
We suggest you work through the following steps:
- Develop indoor and outdoor plans in consultation with your architect, teachers, community and your local Ministry of Education office.
Read the early childhood service design guide section for design ideas for everything from bathrooms to sandpits.
Read the renovating an existing building or building a new service section for a checklist to help you consider a range of issues when renovating an existing building or choosing a site and building a new centre.
- Contact your regional health protection officer (HPO) and discuss your indoor and outdoor plans with them. You can search for your regional HPO using the Ministry of Health website. HPO's may provide a 'new centres pack' that will provide valuable information.
- Think about whether or not you will provide food to the children attending. Under the Food Act 2014, centres providing food service to pre-school children may be subject to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ National Programme 2(external link). This may impact on the layout of the kitchen and laundry facilities at your centre.
- Ensure that building plans comply with the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004, as well as relevant sections of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. Looking at the licensing criteria for your service type will be helpful as it provides more detail about the standards required to meet the regulations.
- Before plans are finalised, contact your local Ministry of Education office for feedback. Apply for resource consent (if you haven’t already) and a building consent. You must have building consent and resource consent before commencing work on the building.
- When you have building consent and resource consent, we suggest you employ a project manager and tradespeople (if you haven’t already). It is recommended that you always use tradespeople and professionals who are licensed building practitioners.
Other resources: Standards, books, articles, videos
The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 regulation 45(external link) and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services criterion PF5 require all licensed ECE services to comply with applicable New Zealand standards.
Standards New Zealand has developed a guide for playground owners and operators of supervised early childhood facilities: Supervised Early Childhood Facilities – Playground Equipment and Surfacing Handbook(external link) (SNZ HB 5828.2:2006).
Ceppi, G., & Zini, M. (eds.) (1998). Children, spaces, relations: Metaproject for an environment for young children. Milan, Italy: Reggio Children.
Dudek, Mark. (2001). Kindergarten architecture: Space for the imagination. London: E. & F.N. Spon. ISBN 0419245200.
Greenman, J., & Stonehouse, A. (1997). Prime times: A handbook for excellence in infant and toddler programs. South Melbourne: Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 0582876494.
Greenman, J. (2005). Caring spaces, learning places: Children's environments that work. Redmond, WA: Exchange Press. ISBN 0942702336.
Ministry of Health. (1997). Ngā Kupu Oranga Healthy Messages: A health and safety resource for early childhood services.(external link)
Olds, A.R. (2000). Child care design guide. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing. ISBN 0070474494.
Christie, T., & Christie, R. (2004). Childspaces: Design source book for early childhood environments. Wellington: Childspace Early Childhood Institute, 2004.
Post, J., & Hohmann, M. (2000). Tender care and early learning: Supporting infants and toddlers in child care settings. Ypsilanti, Mich.: High/Scope Press. ISBN 1573790907.
DVDs and videos
Ministry of Education. (2001). Empowered to learn: Whakamana ki te ako: Te Whāriki for infants and toddlers(external link). [Video/DVD and teacher's handbook]. Te Whāriki: Policy to practice, 3. Wellington: Learning Media.
Ministry of Education. (2001). Empowered to learn: Whakamana ki te ako: Te Whāriki for young children(external link). [Video/DVD and teacher's handbook]. Te Whāriki: Policy to practice, 2. Wellington: Learning Media.