Starting a home-based ECE service

This is a guide for service providers interested in establishing a licensed home-based education and care service.

Licensing Criteria Cover

Applying for a licence

  • Probationary licence
    • To start the application process, contact your local Ministry office. They will be able to explain what is involved and provide an EC1 Application Form. As part of completing this form you will need to complete a Statutory Declaration about whether you and those involved in the management and governance of the service are fit and proper to hold a licence to operate an early learning service. You will also need  to provide a number of documents about the management of the service, proposed staffing, the premises you intend to operate from and curriculum delivery.

      Contact your local Ministry office to set a date for your licensing visits. The Ministry uses the application form, the documentation you sent and the licence assessment visit to at least 2 homes in the service to determine whether your service is ready to be granted a licence. Please note, the Ministry of Education has 30 working days to grant or refuse to grant a probationary licence. The 30 days begins after the receipt of all completed documentation that is required.

      Please note, the Ministry of Education will randomly select 2 homes to visit during the licence assessment process. You may find it useful to undertake your own checks of homes used by the service in preparation for the Ministry’s visits. The Ministry’s Licence Assessment Tool for Home-based ECE Services may be a useful reference. A copy of this can be requested from your local Ministry of Education office.

      Coordinators should discuss with educators what is required to be ready for children and their families to attend.

      Ensure the service’s local contact person and key staff are available during the Ministry’s licence assessment check.

      You need to allow at least 5 working days for the Ministry to prepare and send out the licence.

  • Full licence
    • A full licence must be granted within 12 months of gaining a probationary licence. Please contact your local Ministry office when your service is ready to complete a full licence check. During the full licence check, the Ministry of Education will assess policies, practices and curriculum implementation in action.