Starting a home-based ECE service

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

Roles and responsibilities in a home-based education and care service

The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link) define four distinct positions of responsibility in a home-based education and a care service: Service Provider, Contact Person, Coordinator and Educator.

Service provider is a body, agency, or person that arranges, or offers to arrange education and care for children.

  • The service provider is the holder of the licence. It is directly responsible for delivering education and care services in homes, in accordance with the regulations and licensing criteria.
  • An application for a licence made on behalf of a service provider must be made by a fit and proper person to be involved in the management of the service as described in the regulations

The contact person is a person nominated by the service provider to represent its management, and this person’s name is displayed on the Certificate of Licence. The service provider is legally responsible for meeting regulatory requirements, not the contact person. However the contact person must:

  • be able to respond to the Ministry of Education as soon as practicable on any issue relating to licensing;
  • have authority to act on behalf of the service provider; and
  • reside locally.

A person will generally be considered to ‘reside locally’ if they live within the geographical boundaries serviced by the local Ministry of Education office. Contact your local Ministry of Education office if you are unsure whether the contact person would meet this requirement.

Coordinator means the person who has primary responsibility for overseeing the education and care, comfort, health and safety of the children, and providing professional leadership and support to educators within the service.

A coordinator:

  • is the person recognised as the ‘person responsible’ in a licensed home-based service
  • must hold an early childhood education teaching qualification recognised by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand for registration purposes, and must hold a current practising certificate.
  • is responsible for:
    • supervising children, and the adults providing education and care, at all times children attend a service
    • contacting each educator at least once a fortnight
    • visiting each educator at least once a month
    • taking all reasonable steps each month to observe each child while that child is receiving education and care, including monitoring individual learning plans
    • providing professional leadership and support to educators, including providing advice and training
    • ensuring there is adequate equipment (and where necessary providing this)
    • supporting educators and families
    • ensuring all homes and educators meet regulations and criteria.

Read more about the role of the coordinator in Further Home Based Regulatory Guidance.

Educator means the person who provides education, care and comfort directly to children in his or her care, and attends to the health and safety of those children. An educator:

It is vital that care is taken during the selection process to assess the suitability of each potential educator. Working as a home-based educator will not suit everybody. A high level of individual responsibility and trust is required of an educator and, as the provision of the service often occurs in the home of the educator, there must be a willingness on the educator’s part to open their home to others. It is important that other family members are also comfortable with this happening.

The service provider and coordinator are responsible for matching educators and families and for ensuring that educators’ practices promote the education, health and safety of children enrolled in the service. As the responsible body, service providers must ensure that educators are provided with adequate equipment and resources, support, advice and training in early childhood education.

All licensed home-based education and care service providers must ensure that any person who has physically ill-treated or abused or committed a crime against children is excluded from coming into contact with children in the care of an educator.

Service providers must ensure worker safety checking has been completed in line with the Children’s Act 2014. 

Read about safety checking.

Please note the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) also requires adults aged 17 years or over who live in the home to be Police vetted as well. The Police vet must be obtained even if the person is unlikely to be present when the licensed home-based education and care service is provided. 

Read about Police vetting for early learning services.