Education and Care Service Spaces

This page is current as of 1 October 2017.

​This page outlines the indoor and outdoor space requirements for centre-based services operating under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations).​

An approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that for each child being educated and cared for by the service, the education and care premises has at least 3.25 square metres of unencumbered indoor space and at least 7 square metres of unencumbered outdoor space, (regulation 107 and regulation 108). This does not include children being educated and cared for in an emergency under regulation 123(5).

When applying for a new service approval, or amending an existing service approval, the approved provider must submit calculations that have been completed by a registered building practitioner (except for an education and care service providing education and care to children over preschool age on a school site, or in the circumstance of an education and care service relocating to alternative premises for not more than 12 months).

Registered Building Practitioner

A registered building practitioner is defined in the National Regulations as (regulation 4):

  • a person who is registered as a building surveyor, building inspector or draftsperson under a law of a participating jurisdiction
  • a person who is registered as an architect under a law of a participating jurisdiction
  • a person who is licensed as a surveyor under a law of a participating jurisdiction
  • a person who is licensed or registered as a building certifier under a law of a participating jurisdiction
  • a person who is accredited under a law of a participating jurisdiction to design buildings that will be used to provide education and care services.

Space requirements

Indoor space

The unencumbered indoor space at the education and care service premises should be provided in accordance with regulation 107 of the National Regulations. In calculating the area of unencumbered indoor space the following areas are excluded:

  • any passageway or thoroughfare (including door swings)
  • any toilet and hygiene facilities
  • any nappy changing area or area for preparing bottles
  • any area permanently set aside for the use or storage of cots
  • any area permanently set aside for storage
  • any area or room for staff or administration
  • the area of a kitchen (unless the kitchen is primarily to be used by children as part of an educational program provided by the service).
  • any other space that is not suitable for children.

Furniture in "home corners", mobile open shelving offering toys and equipment directly to children, and chairs and tables are not considered to encumber the play space, as they are an integral part of children’s play area and are moveable.

The area of indoor space must be exclusively available to the service during the time it is operating. For example, a library or hall that is available to an outside school hours care service on an ad hoc basis cannot be counted as part of the indoor space.

Outdoor space

The unencumbered outdoor space at the education and care service premises should be provided, in accordance with regulation 108 of the National Regulations.

In calculating the area of unencumbered outdoor space required, the following areas are to be excluded:

  • any pathway or thoroughfare, except where used by children as part of the education and care program
  • any car parking area
  • any storage shed or other storage area
  • any other space that is not suitable for children.

Regulation 108 outlines the minimum requirements for area of outdoor space in a centre-based service. Approved providers should also consider that the outdoor environment is not only for children to release energy and engage in physical activity, but also for exploration, problem solving and creative expression. As far as possible, it is suggested that outdoor areas should include a variety of area surfaces such as sand, grass, mounds, flat areas and hard surfaces.

Verandah space

The area of a verandah may be included in calculating the indoor space only with the written approval of the Regulatory Authority. A verandah that is included in calculating the area of outdoor space cannot be included in calculating the area of indoor space (regulations 107(4) and (5)).

For more information on verandah space, see: Amendment of service approval-verandah space

Education and care service providers

For services that provide care and education to children over preschool age, an area of indoor space may be included in calculating the available outdoor space with the written approval of the regulatory authority, provided it has not already been used in calculating the indoor space.

Area measurement form

This form should be used to verify the indoor and outdoor space of an education and care service in accordance with regulation 107 and regulation 108 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations), at the time of application for service approval – centre-based or application for amendment of service approval.