Centre based ECE services

The Education Act 1989 S 310 defines defines an early childhood education and care centre as premises used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care, or children enrolled at a school being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6—

  1. by the day or part of a day; but
  2. not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.

Centre-based ECE services have a variety of different operating structures, philosophies and affiliations, and are known by many different names – for example, Playcentres, early learning centres, Montessori, childcare centres, Kindergartens, crèches, preschools, a’oga amata, Rudolf Steiner etc.

These centres are licensed in accordance with the Education Act 1989 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the centres meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

The licensing criteria were last updated in May 2015.

A copy of the licensing criteria can be downloaded from the right- hand column.

For each criterion there is guidance to help centres meet the required standards.

In this section

Girl building tower with blocks.

Curriculum -

Criteria and guidance

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Boy painting.

Premises and facilities -

Criteria and guidance

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Girls painting on paper.

Health and safety -

Criteria and guidance

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Teacher reading to two boys.

Governance, management and administration -

Criteria and guidance

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Boy digging in sandpit.

Glossary -

For centre based ECE services criteria

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Teacher reading to infant.

Appendix 1 -

First aid kit requirements for criterion PF28

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Boys playing with blocks.

Appendix 2 -

Infectious diseases for criterion HS26

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Boys working together to build something using blocks.

Appendix 3 -

Categories of medicine and written authority required from parents for criterion HS28

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Last updated: 4 June 2015