Standards breached

colourful children's blocksAn early childhood centre owned by the head of the Early Childhood Council executive had its licence downgraded for multiple breaches in minimum standards.

Fern Garden Preschool and Childcare Centre in Tauranga is owned by the ECC's President Darius Singh along with wife Nikeeta Singh. 

The Ministry of Education placed it on a provisional licence on the 23rd November 2020, noting 24 licence breaches.

Eleven of the 24 non-compliances concerned not meeting legal requirements for child health and safety.

On March 3rd  2021, the Ministry of Education issued a second provisional licence with a compliance final date of 30 June 2021 for 6 licensing conditions yet to be met.

Fern Garden is part of the Singh's Chrysalis Care Group of centres in Auckland and Tauranga.

The centre was not complying with the following licensing criteria:

Health and Safety: HS1, HS7, HS9, HS10, HS12, HS17, HS22, HS27, HS28, HS29, and HS31

Management: GMA1, GMA6, GMA7A (not meeting requirements under the Vulnerable Children Act for safety checks), GMA7 (suitable human resource management practices), GMA8, GMA10, GMA11

Premises and facilities: PF2, PF12, PF13

Curriculum: C2, C3, C4 


  • Fern Garden is part of the Singh's Chrysalis Care Group of centres in Auckland and Tauranga. Through their lawyer, who also happens to be the ECC lawyer, they contend that any suggestion children were exposed to an "unsafe environment" is inaccurate and misleading.
  • Darius Singh remains the head of the ECC executive and the ECC has been publicly silent on the matter. 
  • The Early Childhood Council provides advice to its member on running their centres and represents their voice in political lobbying. 


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