Establishing a certificated playgroup

'Establishing a certificated playgroup' has been developed to guide parents through the process of establishing a playgroup. It contains information to help you set up a quality playgroup in your community.

The Ministry of Education employs staff in its regional offices to work with parents establishing playgroups and assist them to work towards certification.

Their particular focus is on the set up, delivery and maintenance of quality early childhood education programmes for children.

Contact your local Ministry of Education office if you are interested in establishing a certificated playgroup. 

Licensing Criteria Cover

Tell me more about certification

To talk about becoming a certificated playgroup, contact your local Ministry of Education office. There will be staff who can help you with the certification process.

On 1 December 2008 the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 and the Certification Criteria for Playgroups 2008 came into force. These regulations and certification criteria contain the requirements and standards of education and care that a playgroup must meet in order to be certificated and be eligible to receive Ministry of Education funding and support.

  • Standards and certification criteria for playgroups
    • There are 5 standards that your playgroup will need to comply with.

      • Curriculum: there are two criteria within this standard; one requires the playgroup to plan for, provide and review an education programme that is consistent with the curriculum framework prescribed by the Ministry of Education and the other requires a procedure for positive guidance of children's behaviour.
      • Premises and facilities: there are 8 criteria within this standard; these include design and layout of premises; outdoor space; furniture and equipment; toilet/ hand washing and drying facilities.
      • Health and safety: there are 10 criteria within this standard; these include emergency management and evacuation procedures, hazard management and maintaining good health and safety practices at the playgroup.
      • Management and administration: there are 5 criteria within this standard. These include procedures and records to be maintained that deal with financial management, enrolment and attendance records, and involvement of parents in decision-making.
      • Ratios3: this standard requires playgroups to ensure that more than half of the children attending any session have a parent or caregiver present in the same play area at the same time. At the very least there must be one adult for every four children present in the same play area at the same time.

      Before the Ministry of Education can undertake a certification assessment, your group will need to complete an application form. Staff at your local Ministry of Education office will arrange for a site visit to assess whether the playgroup meets the requirements of the 2008 regulatory system.

  • Types of certificate
    • There are two types of certificates:

      Interim: For an interim certificate a playgroup must meet the ratios of parents to children standard and the premises and facilities standard and be likely to comply with all other certification criteria within 12 months. An interim certificate will be issued for no longer than a 12-month period.

      Full: For a full certificate all certification criteria must be met.

      A certificate will be issued for a 3-year period. You will need to apply for a new certificate every 3 years.