Providing a licensed home-based early childhood education service and out-of-school care at the same time
The definition of home-based early childhood education (ECE) has been amended in the Education Act and a new section, Section 317A, has been added.
The purpose of this change is to allow home-based ECE services to offer out-of-school care at the same time that they offer ECE, under certain conditions. It will provide greater flexibility for parents and families with pre-school and school age children.
These changes increase the maximum number of children allowed to be in a licensed home-based ECE service to six, of which no more than four children can be using the service for ECE.
The Definition of Out-of-School Care
Out-of-school care means the presence of any child during licensed hours aged 13 years or younger, who is enrolled at school, and who is counted towards the total number of children that can be present in the home, in line with the requirements set out in section 317A of the Education Act 1989 (external link) .
The definition change puts in place the following conditions:
- Up to 6 children (aged 13 or younger) can be present in a home.
- Of these 6 children, up to 4 children can be present in the home to receive licensed home-based ECE.
- An educator’s child under the age of 6 will be counted as part of the maximum number of children allowed to receive licensed home-based ECE.
- An educator’s child who is enrolled in school will not be counted as part of the maximum under 13 years.
- Only the children using the service for ECE will be funded through the ECE funding subsidy.
The requirements of Schedule 2 of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 remain unchanged. This means that, of the maximum 4 children in the home who are receiving ECE, no more than 2 can be aged under 2-years-old.
Licensing requirements for home-based ECE services providing Out-of-School Care
The service provider is responsible for ensuring all licensing requirements are met in all homes in the service at all times.
This means that it will be the service provider’s responsibility to monitor which homes are offering out-of-school care and to ensure that appropriate policies, processes and practices are in place in those homes to maintain the delivery of home-based ECE.
Those services that choose to provide out-of-school care will also be required to:
- Have a written emergency plan and supplies that cover both ECE children and out-of-school care children (amended HS4).
- Maintain records that emergency drills have been performed with ECE children and out-of-school care children at the same time (amended HS7).
- Not provide out-of-school care to children who are absent from school due to illness. Return any child receiving out-of-school care to their parents should they become unwell while attending the service (amended HS23).
- Provide written notice advising parents if the home their child is attending will have children receiving out-of-school care and seek parental acknowledgement of this notice (amended GMA2).
In addition to licensing criteria changes we have updated our guidance and things to consider for the following criteria:
Other changes to licensing criteria for all home-based ECE services:
In addition to meeting all current requirements, there is one new criterion and one amended criterion all home-based ECE services are required to comply with:
- Ensure that educators actively supervise children, at all times, while they attend the service (new HS34).
- Develop and implement a supervision plan for all excursions (amended HS14).
Full guidance on how to meet these new and updated licensing criteria can be found on our website.
Home-based services that choose to provide out-of-school-care are expected to maintain standards and provide quality education and care environments through:
- licensing standards that make it clear what is expected on curriculum, health and safety, premises, and governance, management and administration;
- stringent adult-to-child ratios; and
- regular reviews by the Education Review Office (ERO).
The Ministry of Education will continue to monitor home-based services and will intervene if the safety and wellbeing of children is being compromised.
We will also work closely with ERO to support any poorly performing service to lift the quality level of their ECE provision.
An educator’s child aged under 6 and who is not enrolled at school is counted within the home-based ECE maximums. This means they count towards the maximum of 4 that can be receiving home-based ECE.
However, an educator’s child who is enrolled in school and under the age of 13, and present in the home, will not be counted towards the maximum of 6.
Learning of the younger children receiving ECE
Allowing children of different ages to mix in a well-supervised setting can provide a rich learning experience.
A home-based ECE service wishing to provide out-of-school care will need to ensure they have the policies and processes in place to maintain all licensing requirements. This includes the delivery of Te Whāriki, the early learning curriculum.
The Ministry will intervene if the health and safety or quality of learning of any enrolled ECE child is being compromised.
Out-of-school care and recreation (OSCAR)
“OSCAR” is one form of out-of-school care. OSCAR services are before/after school and school holiday programmes for school-aged children, usually up to the age of 13 years. "OSCAR Approved" usually refers to a programme being "approved" under the "OSCAR Standards for Approval" which are currently administered by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). For more information see: http://www.oscarnz.org.nz/ (external link)
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