Starting a home-based ECE service

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


One of the advantages of home-based education and care learning environments is that there is already a huge range of valuable learning tools, resources and opportunities available in each home and in the communities around them, for example baking, cooking, gardening, local parks, playgroups and library story times.

These provide some of the resources for the provision of care and education for children enrolled in your service.

It is important to note that the educators in your service are your main resource and the key to a successful service is the relationships that are fostered between the coordinators, educators, and children and families involved. No amount of 'equipment' can substitute this.

Home-based education and care organisations often provide equipment that educators can access to complement their environments.

The following points can be used by both service providers and educators to think about the equipment, resources and opportunities that will support and extend children’s learning in home-based settings.

  1. Consider what equipment and resources will meet the curriculum standards in the regulations, and will:
  • reflect personal philosophies and the philosophy of the service
  • actively engage the children who are attending
  • acknowledge and reflect the local community
  • acknowledge and reflect the dual heritage of New Zealand.

It is important to remember that the home and the local community contain a variety of equipment and resources that can readily be used by children to support all aspects of learning. It may be useful to visit other home-based ECE services to view the variety and choices of equipment they are providing and discuss their reasons for choosing that equipment.

  1. Make a list of equipment that you consider you may need in your service to help educators extend on the resources they have in their home. Many suppliers have catalogues and price lists available. Remember that each home already has a lot of resources available without having to purchase too much. Remember also that the opportunity to go ‘out and about’ in the community and utilise community resources is an asset for home-based contexts.
  2. Ensure that all equipment complies with health and safety standards outlined in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 and the Licensing Criteria for Home-Based Education and Care Services 2008.
  3. Services must be ‘ready for children' before the Ministry of Education will undertake a licensing visit. For home-based services this means that there are home-based educators ‘ready’ to have children in their homes and their homes have been checked by the service coordinators to ensure they comply with the home-based criteria and are ‘ready for children’. Home-based services also need to ensure that management and coordinator premises and resources (for example, equipment to borrow) are ready to support educators to provide for children.

(See the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link) and the Licensing Criteria for Home-Based Education and Care Services 2008.)