2008 Regulatory framework

2008 Regulatory Framework.

In 2004 the New Zealand Government agreed on a three-tiered regulatory framework (known as the 2008 regulatory framework):

  • first tier: The Education Act (1989)
  • second tier: Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 and Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008
  • third tier: Criteria to assess compliance with standards for centre, home-based and hospital-based services, Kōhango Reo and playgroups.

The third tier criteria are deemed regulations prescribed by the Minister of Education. These state the day-to-day requirements that different ECE services types must meet in order to meet the regulated standards of education and care that are outlined in regulation. The criteria clarify current requirements and make them more transparent and accessible. They are intended to make it easier for ECE services to know what is required of them. They also contribute to a more integrated system of legislation that supports flexibility and diversity through different sets of criteria for different service types.

To further assist ECE services with some practical considerations and examples, an informal fourth tier was created. This tier is called Guidance and can only be found on this site. The Guidance sits below each criteria for each service type and may be in the format of questions to consider, sample downloads, sample photos etc.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services Notice 2008

Pursuant to regulation 41(3) of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 and regulation 17(2) of the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008, the Secretary for Education gives notice that the following criteria have been prescribed by the Minister of Education for the purpose of assessing compliance with the minimum standards set out in the regulations below:

Criteria prescribed under regulation 41(1) of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008

  • Licensing Criteria for Hospital-based Education and Care Services 2008
  • Licensing criteria for Home-based Education and Care Services 2008
  • Licensing Criteria for Kōhanga Reo affiliated with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust 2008

Criteria prescribed under regulation 17(1) of the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008:

  • Certification Criteria for Playgroups 2008

Printable copies of each of the above-mentioned criteria are available in the downloads box to the right and on the main section page for each service type.

Additional hard copies of the criteria are available from Wickliffe Publications on 0800 660 662 at a cost.

Early childhood education curriculum framework for Aotearoa New Zealand

The 2008 regulations gave the Minister of Education the ability to prescribe a national curriculum framework for ECE. The curriculum standard and related criteria are linked to the curriculum framework, which provides the foundation for curriculum in early childhood education services. A copy of the Education (Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework) Notice 2008 which prescribes the Curriculum Framework in accordance with section 314 of the Education Act 1989 can be downloaded from the reference section to the right.

Transition process

Under the 2008 regulatory framework, all existing ECE services will need to be re-licensed sometime during a transition period of 5 years. During this transition period a dual regulatory system will exist. Existing services will continue under the 1998 regulations/requirements until they go through the re-licensing process.

The Ministry of Education will visit every currently licensed and/or chartered ECE service to assess them for compliance against the 2008 regulatory standards and relevant set of criteria. The Ministry of Education will be able to issue a transitional licence (for a period of up to 18 months) to services found not to be meeting the regulatory standards to give them time to comply.


Last updated: 10 December 2014