1. When applying ratios an adult is a person:

  • Over 17 years old.
  • Involved in duties other than food preparation and serving, administrative duties, and maintenance.
  • Not at lunch, having a break or on non-contact duties.

(Note that adults counted in ratios have to be actively caring for children. The purpose of the requirement is to stop centres counting any person who is on site which may mean actually less people are involved in caring for children. Also note that when applying ratios a child is a person under 6 years old and includes children of the service provider, supervisors and staff members).

 

2. At least one person (and this is usually the centre manager, supervisor, or head teacher) is responsible for supervising the children and adults for every 50 children.

 

3. The Secretary of Education may direct a centre to increase the level or kind of staffing beyond the minimum requirements after considering the needs and ages of children and the design and construction of the premises.

 

4. The following table shows the minimum number of adults to be present. This is determined by:

  • Number of children.
  • Children’s age.
  • Centre’s operating hours.

Please note that ratios have been rounded up to the nearest whole number.

 

Children Under Two Years

Children Over Two Years

All-Day Centre

(over 4 hours)

Legal requirement - How many adults

Legal requirement - For how many children

* Best possible adult:child ratio

** Minimum adult:child ratio

Legal requirement - How many adults

Legal requirement - For how many children

* Best possible adult:child ratio

** Minimum adult:child ratio

1

1-5

1:1

1:5

1

1-6

1:1

1:6

2

6-10

1:3

1:5

2

7-20

1:4

1:10

3

11-15

1:4

1:5

3

21-30

1:7

1:10

4

16-20

1:4

1:5

4

31-40

1:8

1:10

5

21-25

1:5

1:5

5

41-50

1:9

1:10

6

26-30

1:5

1:5

6

51-60

1:9

1:10

7

31-35

1:5

1:5

7

61-70

1:9

1:10

8

36-40

1:5

1:5

8

71-80

1.9

1:10

9

41-45

1:5

1:5

9

81-90

1.9

1:10

10

46-50

1:5

1:5

10

91-100

1.10

1:10

11

51-55

1:5

1:5

11

101-110

1.10

1:10

12

56-60

1:5

1:5

12

111-120

1:10

1:10

13

61-65

1:5

1:5

13

121-130

1.10

1:10

14

66-70

1:5

1:5

14

131-140

1:10

1:10

15

71-75

1:5

1:5

15

141-150

1:10

1:10

Sessional Centre (under 4 hours)

How many adults

For how many children

Best possible ratio

Minimum ratio

How many adults

For how many children

Best possible ratio

Minimum ratio

As Above

1

1-8

1:8

1:8

2

9-30

1:5

1:15

3

31-45

1:11

1:15

4

46-60

1:12

1:15

5

61-75

1:13

1:15

6

76-90

1:13

1:15

7

91-105

1:13

1:15

8

106-120

1:13

1:15

9

121-135

1:13

1:15

10

136-150

1:13.6

1:15

NOTES
*  The ratio requirements are higher (more adults to children) when there are fewer children. When there are more children, proportionately fewer adults are required. For example, When there are 7 over-2s the requirement is for 2 adults (a ratio of 1 adult to 4 children) but when there are 101 over-2s, the requirement is for 11 adults (a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children). No explanation is provided in the regulations as to why fewer adults are proportionately required when there are more children present. 
* * The legislation allows for ratios to be calculated across a centre rather than by class or group size. Hence, some rooms or groups within a centre may exceed the minimum ratios while other groups may have poorer ratios, but overall the centre will be in compliance as long as it meets the centre ratio requirements for total number of adults and children.

 

5. If licensed for children of both age groups, and whether operating all-day or sessional, the adult: child ratio is

  • 1 adult for up to 3 mixed aged children (i.e. aged between 0 – 6 years)
  • If more than 3 mixed aged children then the table above is used to find the sum of the relevant minimum staffing requirements, e.g., for an all-day centre:
    • If 4 under-2s and 15 over-2s then minimum requirement is 3 adults (1 adult + 2 adults)
    • If 25 under-2s and 25 over-2s then 8 adults (5 adults + 3 adults)
    • If 75 under-2s and 75 over-2s then 23 adults (15 adults + 8 adults)

 

6. Spare capacity for under-2s children can be offset in certain circumstances against the number of children over-2 in determining ratios, for example:

  • If 4 under-2s and 15 over-2s then minimum requirement is 3 adults however 1 child over two years could be added.
  • If 2 under-2s and 9 over-2s then minimum requirement is 3 adults however 3 children over two years could be added.

Circumstances include when the ratio of children attending under 2 years is less than number the centre is licensed for and less than the threshold number for ratios - threshold numbers being 5, 10, 15, ...  The applicable minimum staffing requirement must be maintained as for under-2s even with some over-2s filling the spare capacity for under-2s.  If in doubt, check with your local Ministry of Education ECE licensing officer.  Note: As stated in Point 5 above when there is one adult the maximum is 3 mixed aged children - the spare capacity rule may not apply unless approved by the Ministry. 

 

7. The same ratio requirements in the table above are maintained when on outings and for any children remaining at the centre. (Note that before taking children on outings, centres are also required to undertake an assessment and management of risk and determine adult: child ratios according to the assessment. It may be that an assessment carried out by the centre of the risk (e.g. of taking children to a stream at a park) determines that the numbers of adults to children be better than the minimum legal requirements, but this is at the centre’s discretion).

 

Additional Information in Respect to Playcentres.  Funding rules require that Playcentres affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Association maintain a ratio of at least 1 adult to every 5 children. Children aged under two and a half years must be cared for by their parent/caregiver.


Additional Information in Respect to Kōhanga Reo.  Funding rules require that individual Kōhanga Reo under the stewardship of the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board maintain ratios of at least 1 adult to 4 under-2s, and 1 adult to 6 two year olds and over. Kōhanga Reo may operate on a minimum ratio of 1 adult to 5 under-2s and 1 adult to 6 two years old and over and are funded at a higher rate when there are: 

  • Two persons with Whakapakari Tohu or
  • Two persons in the final year of Whakapakari Tohu plus one other person with Attestation or
  • One person with Whakapakari Tohu plus one person in the final year of Whakapakari Tohu plus one person with Attestation.

 

There is more you need to know

Find the childcare that is right for you

Find the childcare that is right for you

See the directory of NZ services. Add your rating and reviews. Read More
Is your child being bitten by another kid?

Is your child being bitten by another kid?

This is why kids bite and how biters are dealt with Read More
Official early childhood education parent website

Official early childhood education parent website

Contact us to request your service be added or to ask for help to lay a confidential complaint Read More
  • 1