Blessings for Life Kaitaia - 26/07/2017

1 Evaluation of Blessings for Life Kaitaia

How well placed is Blessings for Life Kaitaia 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. 


Blessings for Life Kaitaia opened in 2016 and operates in a former church building in central Kaitaia. It is licensed to provide full-day education and care for up to 40 children, including a maximum of 10 children aged under two years. The service reflects the mainly Māori and Pākehā local community.

A strongly values-based Christian philosophy is at the heart of the service's culture. Children are nurtured and affirmed as confident and capable individuals, and are well placed to thrive in this high quality, family-style service.

The owner/manager and a head teacher oversee the day-to-day programme and operations. The majority of staff, including the owner/manager, are qualified teachers. As a collaborative team, staff provide a peaceful, and interesting environment for young children to explore through play. A full-time cook provides nutritious and healthy meals.

The owner has another Blessings for Life service in Houhora.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is highly evident in programmes and practices. A child-centred, play-based approach promotes wellbeing and learning, with a good balance of child-led and adult-initiated activities. Children are busy, engaged, and show a deep sense of wonder and enjoyment in discovery. Teachers value and praise children's strengths, knowledge and individuality.

Respectful, trusting and supportive relationships are a feature, reflecting the centre's philosophy, vision and values. Blessings for Life provides a safe, comfortable place for whānau, supporting wellbeing and positive outcomes for children. Meaningful connections are reflected in the warm and welcome extended to whānau.

A consistent, nurturing approach to promoting wellbeing results in high quality care. Staff support children's self-esteem and independence. They help children to be mindful of the needs and rights of others. They support children to question, negotiate, suggest, and express their ideas and needs. As a result, children demonstrate care with positive social skills, and tuakana/teina support for peers.

The spacious centre environment is thoughtfully organised with a range of attractive areas. Children use these creatively and learn through play. Quiet, comfortable spaces are thoughtfully furnished to provide warmth and security. There are also extensive interesting and lively spaces that encourage exploration and provide fun physical challenges. Well chosen resources prompt early literacy and numeracy development, along with science-related knowledge and skills.

Teachers seamlessly weave te reo Māori through the programme in action. Tikanga Māori is practised naturally. The environment and resources highlight purposeful connections to Māori themes and perspectives. Staff nurture each child's pride in their own culture, language and identity. An inclusive, harmonious atmosphere is fostered and a deep bicultural commitment is enacted.

Staff give appropriate space and time for children to explore and expand on their ideas. They are responsive, affirming and encouraging, recognising each child's potential. Creative and imaginative activities feature strongly. High quality conversations and questioning skills extend children's language and experiences, as they explore their world. Children confidently make choices about their play, showing a sense of ownership of their environment.

A significant number of children attending the service are under three years of age. There has been a significant and successful focus on reviewing and enhancing programmes for infants and toddlers. Good and growing professional relationships are also being created with local primary schools, easing transitions for older children.

Children's portfolios provide a very good record of how the service works alongside whānau to support children's holistic needs. Leaders are refining learning stories so that possible ways to extend children's learning are clearly stated in teachers' planning.

The owner's nurturing and supportive approach means that teaching and learning expectations are continuously modelled and affirmed in an appreciative way. Collaborative decision making promotes shared ownership and understanding of practices and processes within the team, and with whānau. Leaders skilfully plan, resource and review learning. Teachers are given good feedback about their practices, and supported to improve.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders now plan to strengthen their internal evaluation of programmes and systems. This useful next step would support leaders as they prepare to align the centre's strategic planning with teachers' appraisal goals and professional learning. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Blessings for Life Kaitaia 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 Blessings for Life Kaitaia will be in four years. 

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

26 July 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 25, Girls 13

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

26 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s) 

No previous ERO reports


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.