How the rules fit together

The rules for early learning services make up the regulatory framework.

Level of compliance Main audience Other



  • All Early Learning Services
  • Service Managers
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Educators, Teachers and Kaiako

A service’s licence is governed by statutory requirements, which are stated in the Education and Training Act 2020 and elsewhere.

The rules that govern ECE are divided into three tiers

1. The Education and Training Act 2020

2. The regulations for ECE services and playgroups

3. The criteria:

  • These are day to day standards that ECE services and Kōhanga reo must meet.
  • These criteria explain what is required in order to meet the regulations.
  • There are different criteria for different services.

4. Guidance:

  • This provides information, things to think about, samples of documents and links to further information.


Licensing fees for new ECE services

When new ECE services are applying to be licensed for the first time, a fee of $2,817.50 (including GST) must be paid.

2008 criteria

You can download copies of the following 2008 criteria:

Early Learning Regulatory Review

The Ministry of Education has begun a comprehensive review of the early learning regulatory system (the Review). The Review’s purpose is to ensure that the regulatory system is clear and fit for purpose to support high quality educational outcomes for our youngest learners.

Find out more about the Early Learning Regulatory Review.

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