3.4 Application to use indoor space as outdoor space

National Law & Regulations

[ National Regulations, Regulation 108 ] The approved provider of a centre-based service or a family day care venue, which educates and cares for children over preschool age, may apply to the regulatory authority to include an area of unencumbered indoor space in calculating the outdoor space at the service.

Approval (if granted) must be in writing. An application may be made with the initial application for service approval, or at a later time. Regulatory authorities consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

Considering an application

When making a decision on an application, regulatory authorities will balance the objectives of the legislation to prioritise children’s safety, health and developmental outcomes, with the interests of providers to offer services, and for families to have access to those services.

When reviewing the application, the regulatory authority may consider the:

  • number and ages of children and the time spent at the service
  • physical elements of the space
  • proportion of indoor space to be included in the outdoor space.
These factors are not criteria that must be satisfied for an application to be approved. Regulatory authorities must consider each application on its merits.

Number and ages of children and the time spent at the service

Regulatory authorities may consider the ages of the children at the service and what proportion of children are over preschool age. Indoor space can only be calculated as outdoor space when children over preschool age are being educated and cared for at the service.

The amount of time children spend at the service will also be considered.

Using indoor space in calculating outdoor space is more likely to be appropriate at an outside school hours care service where children are only at the service for a couple of hours each morning and/or afternoon, than at a vacation care service, where children attend from 8am to 5pm each day.

Physical elements of the space

Regulatory authorities may consider how the indoor space can be used. For example, can the indoor space be safely used for activities which would ordinarily be done outside, such as throwing a ball, skipping or running? Regulatory authorities may look at flooring, whether any glass areas are or can be protected, and whether the space is sufficiently lit and ventilated for physical activity.

Where the space is intended to be used for these types of activities, such as gymnasiums or halls, or where they can be safely used for these types of activities, they may be suitable to be included in calculating outdoor space.

Proportion of indoor space to be included in calculating outdoor space

The greater the proportion of indoor space that will be included in calculating outdoor space, the more important it will be for the regulatory authority to be satisfied that the space can be used for activities which would typically be undertaken outside.

If an application is refused

If an application is refused, the approved provider may apply for a service or temporary waiver (see Waivers for more information).