Latest ERO report

Read our latest ERO report (August 2018)

Review Findings

Children benefit from positive relationships with teachers who know them well. Their learning is celebrated throughout the home-like environment. An emphasis on creative arts is evident. Science and mathematics learning are woven into play-based contexts. Routine times are used well for meaningful learning and discussion. Open-ended questioning supports and enhances children’s thinking. A recent success for the service has seen a range of very useful strategies embedded to promote literacy and oral language. This is a centre strength.

Infants and toddlers explore confidently alongside teachers who prioritise their wellbeing and follow their lead. Children’s sense of place and belonging is actively promoted. A wide range of suitable resources are available for children to explore at their own pace. Unhurried care routines are aligned with home practices, and used well as learning and relationship building opportunities.

Teachers prioritise inclusive practices. Children with diverse learning needs are well supported to engage with the programme and their peers. Their families are supported and outside agencies accessed as appropriate.

Teachers share a wide range of useful information with families and seek their input on the service’s curriculum and operation. Leaders agree that a more robust range of strategies, focused on reciprocal learning partnerships, would enable more meaningful ongoing engagement. Establishing the service’s priority learning outcomes for children, in consultation with families, is a useful next step. This should assist in strengthening the goals within the service’s strategic plan, to guide improvements.

Aspects of te reo and kaupapa Māori are appropriately evident in the curriculum. Teachers have established a shared understanding of sites of significance to Māori in the local area. Leaders and teachers continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori perspectives across the programme. Teachers should also build a greater understanding of what success looks like for the service’s whānau Māori, as well as for Pacific families.

Teachers are attuned to children’s interests and use these, alongside the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, as the foundation for assessment and planning. Children’s portfolios record observations and show children’s progress over time. The communication and cues of individual children are strongly reflected. A next step for the service is to clearly show how these observations are used to inform specific teaching strategies, to extend and challenge children. Teachers should consider how documentation could show:

  • the use of individual development plans for children with diverse learning needs
  • the impact of culturally responsive teaching, tailored to specific children
  • the impact of the bicultural curriculum for all children
  • how children’s learning has benefitted from partnerships with parents
  • how assessment of learning, and evaluation of teaching strategies, contributes to future plans for each child.

Children and their families are well supported to settle into the centre and transition between rooms, with a range of inclusive and flexible strategies. Consideration of children’s readiness for school is appropriately aligned to social competence and confidence as learners. The service agrees that a next step is to consider ways to share useful information about individual children with school staff.

The teaching team collaborate on improvement-focused reviews. Very useful professional research contributes to changes in the programme and practice. Parents are consulted and kept well informed. However, documentation of the impact of these improvements on children’s learning needs to be strengthened. Indicators should be measurable and focused on children’s outcomes. In addition, introducing a monitoring component to emergent evaluations is required, to support teachers to know the success of smaller programme changes.

Appraisal processes should have a stronger focus on children’s outcomes. The manager acknowledges the need to align to current Education Council requirements. This is a key next step for the service.

Members of the teaching team work well together, and take on appropriate areas of leadership based on their strengths and interests. A commitment to making ongoing improvements for the benefit of children is clearly evident.

Read the full report »


Early Learning Strategic Plan

Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga

A new strategic plan is being developed to set the direction and vision for early learning, for the next 10 years. The groups working on the draft plan are currently seeking people’s views through an online survey.

Their work will also draw on the Education Summit events and the broader Education Conversation.

A Ministerial Advisory Group, a larger Reference Group that includes sector stakeholders, and the Ministry of Education are working together to develop the draft plan.


This is your chance to have your say on the future of New Zealand education for children from 0 – 5 years old. Nearly all New Zealand children attend early learning services before starting school.

What do you think is working well and what could be changed to improve early learning for all New Zealand children?

Start the survey now.

Closes 31 Jul 2018


Maramataka is used to guide the planting and harvesting of crops, and fishing and hunting. Maramataka translates as ‘moon rotating’.

For most tribes the lunar months began with the new moon, but for some with the full moon (Rākaunui). The start of each month was aligned to the morning rising of particular stars. The maramataka names are similar for most tribes, but the order may vary from tribe to tribe (Source: online Māori dictionary)


Download a maramataka poster (Māori lunar calendar)



Modified from The Spinoff, 26 June 2018 and The Conversation, 30 June 2018

Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleaides star cluster. It rises during mid-winter and marks the beginning of the Māori new year. Matariki is one of the most obvious star groups in the night sky and you can it see without needing a telescope.

The word is an abbreviation of the saying “Ngā mata o te ariki Tāwhirimātea” meaning “the eye of the god Tāwhirimātea” in reference to Tāwhirimātea, god of the wind and weather. In the story of creation, Tāne Mahuta (god of the forest) separated his parents Ranginui (atua of the sky) and Papatūānuku (Earth mother), and his brother Tāwhirimātea got upset and tore out his eyes, crushed them into pieces and thew them into the sky.

MatarikiMatariki is often referred to as the Seven Sisters however there are actually nine stars.

Unlike western New Year, the dates of Matariki change year by year. This year Matariki set on May 19 and will rise again between July 17 and 20.

According to the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) this year Matariki will be most visible between 6-13 July.

More information »

Everything you wanted to know about Matariki but were too embarrassed to ask

Matariki: reintroducing the tradition of Māori New Year celebrations

Early childcare centres ‘like factory farms’

Newstalk ZB, Monday, 18 December 2017

A survey of 900 early childhood teachers revealed that more than a quarter wouldn’t send their own children to the centre they work at.

Nadine Higgins interviews Child Forum CEO Sarah Alexander about the survey results.

Sarah Alexander says the high numbers of children have an impact on learning and safety.

“Concern has certainly risen since the law has changed to allow triple the number of children in early childhood centres.”

“Some of our early childcare centres have been described as being akin to factory farms for children.”

Listen to the full interview »


Special education wait times ‘appalling’

John Gerritsen, Education Correspondent, RNZ

Some under-five-year-olds with disabilities and behaviour problems are waiting up to a year to get help – and, in Wellington and Porirua, average waiting times are double the average for the rest of the country, Education Ministry figures show.

The ministry’s figures showed children in the Wellington region were waiting an average of seven days for an initial assessment, but their first appointment with the early intervention service was taking an average of 139 days, compared to an average of 68 in most other parts of the country.

Full article »