Providing excellence in early childhood education since 1972
...excellence in early childhood education Established in 1972
SCDC helps you find child care available in your community
decision making on healthy development for your child made easier with SCDC
Provider Services
Resource & Referral
Meeting Child Care Regulations
Requirements For Licensed Centers
  Licensed Centers Must Meet Requirements In The Following Areas:  

The administrator of a child care center must be at least 21, and have at least a North Carolina Early Childhood Administration Credential or its equivalent. Lead teachers in a child care center must be at least 18 and have at least a North Carolina Early Childhood Credential or its equivalent. If administrators and lead teachers do not meet this requirement, they must begin credential coursework within six months of being hired. Staff younger than 18 years of age must work under the direct supervision of staff 21 years of age or older. All staff must complete a minimum number of training hours including ITS-SIDS training for any caregiver that works with infants 12 months of age or younger, and CPR and first aid training. All staff must also undergo a criminal records background check. As of December 2008, criminal records rechecks are done every three years.


Ratios are the number of staff required to supervise a certain number of children. Group size is the maximum number of children in one group. Ratios and group sizes for licensure are shown below and must be posted in each classroom.
Age Teacher : Child Ratio Maximum Group Size
  0-12 months     1:5     10  
  12-24 months     1:6     12  
  2 years old     1:10     20  
  3 years old     1:15     25  
  4 years old     1:20     25  
  School-age     1:25     25  

Space & Equipment

To meet licensing requirements, there must be at least 25 square feet per child indoors and 75 square feet per child outdoors. Outdoor play space must be fenced. Indoor equipment must be clean, safe, well maintained, and developmentally appropriate. Outdoor equipment and furnishings must be child size, sturdy, and free of hazards that could injure children.


The Division of Child Development and Early Education does not promote or require any specific curriculum over another unless programs are using curriculum to get a quality point for the star-rated license. Child care programs choose the type of curriculum appropriate for the ages of the children enrolled. Activity plans must be available to parents and must show a balance of active and quiet, and indoor and outdoor activities. Rooms must be arranged to encourage children to explore and use materials on their own.

Health & Safety

Children must be immunized on schedule. Each licensed center must ensure the health and safety of children by sanitizing areas and equipment used by children. Meals and snacks must be nutritious, and children must have portions large enough to satisfy their hunger. Food must be offered at least once every four hours. Local health, building, and fire inspectors visit licensed visit licensed programs to make sure standards are met. All children must be allowed to play outdoors each day (weather permitting) and must have space and time provided for rest.

back to top