AppleSeed Educare - 08/11/2017

1 Evaluation of AppleSeed Educare

How well placed is AppleSeed Educare to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Appleseed Educare in Mt Eden provides full-day early childhood education and care for up to 27 children. The centre is a mixed-age service with children up to 5 years playing and learning alongside one another. Families that attend come from diverse cultures, and include a small number of Māori and Pacific families.

The centre changed ownership in May 2015, maintaining the name but rebranding to reflect the centre's environment and philosophy. The centre operates in a refurbished bungalow and the new owners have made further improvements in its environment.

Since the 2014 ERO review some staff have changed and a new centre manager has been appointed. There are four qualified teachers, a cook and regular relievers. The centre directors are responsible for the administration and managerial tasks and work collaboratively with the centre manager. Staff come with a diverse range of cultural strengths and teaching experience. Nutritious meals are cooked on site in response to children’s cultural and dietary needs.

The centre's philosophy is based on developing meaningful relationships in a family environment. Its vision and mission statements reflect the image of a child as a 'leaderful learner'. Children are encouraged to lead their own learning and are viewed as competent explorers. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the Reggio Emilia philosophy of the environment being the third teacher, guide teacher practices and programme implementation.

ERO's 2014 review of Appleseed Educare noted that next steps were to improve self-review, planning and assessment, strategic and annual planning and support for children to transition to school. The new owners and manager have made good progress in these areas. They have participated in a leadership professional learning programme that has helped them to introduce new approaches.

The Review Findings

Children are confident communicators, active explorers and decision makers. They make discoveries and have fun as they learn through play. Children lead their learning and show a strong sense of belonging and ownership in the centre. Children learn at an unhurried pace in a calm, child focused, home-like environment.

Children engage in self-chosen and cooperative play for sustained periods. They happily share ideas with peers and adults. The centre's emphasis on tuakana/teina relationships is evident in the support and care that older children show for infants and toddlers. Teachers sensitively support children to develop social competence through friendships and engage in group activities. Children approach teachers with trust and affection when requiring reassurance or assistance. Their emotional and social development are nurtured.

The centre's environment provides children with many choices. It is carefully organised and attractively presented to promote curiosity and investigation. Thoughtful resourcing, an increased level of challenge and targeted planning, allow for children to be physically active and join in group games in the outside area. Resources are presented to help develop and extend children's interests and their evolving ideas and understandings about the world around them.

Teachers implement a culturally responsive programme based on fostering child-led learning. Programmes are inspired by children's interests, the centre’s philosophy and, Te Whāriki. Partnerships with parents are supported by a culture of care and respect. Teachers have a strong commitment to inclusion and children with special needs are welcomed. Teachers value the contributions and the strengths that children and their families bring.

The centre's philosophy acknowledges the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand and this is reflected in teachers' practice. Teachers and children use words and phrases of te reo Māori in routines and conversations, as well as in waiata and dance. Teachers look for authentic ways to include te ao Māori in the programme. They affirm Māori children’s cultural identity in meaningful ways.

Teachers value and actively support children's learning through play. They provide children with good opportunities to be creative, use literacy, mathematics, science and technologies as part of their play and discussion. Children's language skills, including their first languages, are very well supported by teachers.

Teachers view infants and toddlers as capable, competent young learners who benefit from being in a mixed-age setting. They promote young children's growing sense of self. Teachers understand the characteristics and preferences of infants and toddlers and provide them with easy access to the outside environment and play equipment. Younger children have space and time to make choices and discoveries. Very young children are developing secure attachments and independence.

Curriculum planning and implementation are responsive to children’s ideas and emerging interests. Documentation showing how children engage in the programme is displayed for adults and children. Children’s portfolios are highly valued, include their input and are often added to by families.

Online communications and portfolios increase opportunities for whānau to contribute to their children’s learning. The transition to school programme is well organised and includes regular visits to local primary schools. Parents are provided with good information to help ensure that children’s transitions into the centre and to school are responsive to individual needs.

The centre's strategic planning, and philosophy provide good guidance for centre governance and management. There is efficient recordkeeping, clear reporting and a comprehensive framework of policies and procedures. Internal evaluation is child focused, purposeful and used to inform improvements. Good systems are in place to monitor health and safety and keep up-to-date with legal requirements.

Effective management and sound professional leadership guide the centre well. Teachers are enthusiastic and work collaboratively. The manager encourages teachers' leadership abilities. A sound appraisal process supports teachers to improve their professional capabilities. An external appraiser for the manager would enhance this process. Teachers make very good use of professional development opportunities to reflect on and improve their practice.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps that will contribute to sustainable, ongoing improvement, include:

  • continuing to develop more evaluative, in-depth internal evaluation practices
  • encouraging teachers to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practice and their impact on outcomes for children
  • teachers continuing to research strategies that encourage children's leadership of their own learning
  • further developing the visibility and continuity of learning in curriculum documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of AppleSeed Educare completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of AppleSeed Educare will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

8 November 2017

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Mt Eden, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 18

Boys 14

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

8 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.