Licensing, Health Reports and Setting up a New Early Childhood Centre

Early Childhood Centres (ECC) includes kindergartens, playcentres, kohanga reo, and pre-schools. 

Early Childhood Education services (ECEs) are found in a variety of settings, each with structural and organisational differences, and varying philosophies and learning environments.  This includes centre-based ECE services, hospital-based ECE services, kindergartens, playcentres, playgroups, and home-based ECE services.

Health Protection Officers assess and inspect ECCs to ensure staff and children are provided with a healthy environment.

The main health issues that Health Protection Officers look at are immunisation registers, food hygiene, safety and suitability of play equipment, general cleanliness and upkeep of the ECC, and methods of controlling the spread of disease in the ECC.

An ECEC health report is required before the Ministry of Education will issue a license to operate. Health Protection Officers carry out this service for Toi Te Ora Public Health and can provide information to owners and managers of ECCs.

It is advisable when establising a new ECC that you inform the Health Protection Officer in your area so that public health advice can be included early on in the planning phase.

A health inspection for a license does incur a cost, although pre-inspection visits and follow up inspections are free of charge.

Contact a Health Protection Officer on 0800 221 555 for more advice and information on health inspections of ECCs.  Read Pre-licencing information on Health and Safety in Early Childhood Centres for more information.

The Ministry of Education provides information on establishing an ECEC on its website.

The Ministry of Health has produced Nga Kupu Oranga: a health and safety resource for early childhood services.  This document gives guidance on how to keep children safe and healthy while attending their ECC.  The resource also provides key elements of procedures and policy.  Toi Te Ora recommends that all ECCs have a copy of this resource.