Starting a home-based ECE service
This is a guide for service providers interested in establishing a licensed home-based education and care service.
The home-based education and care home environment
'Fit for purpose'
Children need access to an environment that is 'fit for purpose' – that is, it can support children “to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society” (Te Whāriki).
Consideration must be given to how the home-based environment would reflect the curriculum framework and support the level of quality education and care required in the regulations.
It is the responsibility of the licensed home-based service provider to ensure that the premises and facilities used are fit for purpose.
- Can the premises support the provision of different types of indoor and outdoor play?
- Are there spaces for quiet activities and areas for physically active play?
- How would the environment cater for individual and group learning experiences appropriate to the experience-base, cultural contexts, ages, abilities and interests of the children attending?
- Can children be effectively supervised when accessing the indoor and outdoor areas?
One benefit of home-based education and care is that the equipment, experiences, opportunities, materials and provisions that are part of everyday home and community life (for example, pots, pans, couches, local parks, libraries) are readily available for children and educators to use.
It is useful for educators to think about the implications of providing home-based education and care in their own homes. Welcoming children and their families, as well as service coordinators, into their home is an integral part of an educator’s role and it is important that educators and other family members are comfortable with this happening. Educators should consider how their home will be used. For instance will all rooms be available for children to use or will some rooms (for example, a teenager’s room) be inaccessible? Can these rooms be locked?
Compliance with the Building Act
To ensure the safety and well-being of children, each home in the home-based service must conform to any relevant local authority by-laws, and any recent work done to a home must comply with the requirements of the Building Act 2004(external link). Home-based service providers are required to ensure that any compliance documentation (for instance, a code of compliance certificate issued under section 95 of the Building Act 2004(external link) for any building work undertaken) is available.
Any premises undergoing alterations, or having undergone alterations since 2004, must conform to the Building Act 2004. Documentation such as a code of compliance certificate will need to be viewed and noted by service providers.
Building warrants of fitness and compliance schedules are not commonly needed in residential homes. These documents are required under the Building Act only when the building has an escalator, lift, cable car, automatic doors, or particular kind of fire alarm – they provide evidence that these mechanical systems are maintained in good working order.
If the residential premises have a cable car for access, the owner of the premises is required to have a compliance schedule under section 100 of the Building Act 2004 and provide evidence that a current annual building warrant of fitness is held.
For more information read PF3 Building Act compliance.
The following resources may help you.
Ngā Kupu Oranga Healthy Messages:(external link) A health and safety resource for early childhood centres produced by the Ministry of Health. Home-based services will also find it useful. Section B6 discusses cleaning and disinfecting processes.
The New Zealand Home-based Early Childhood Education Association(external link) may provide support and advice to services.
Additional guidance is available specifically for home-based services above ground level. We recommend reading this. Guidance for ECE Services – Evacuation from High Rise Buildings [PDF, 260 KB].
The Ministry of Education also provides guidance for each criterion of the regulations.