Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd - 23/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd

How well placed is Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd 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.


Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd is a privately owned centre licensed to provide full day education and care for up to 25 children, including five aged under two years. There is a separate indoor play space available for infants and toddlers. Most of the children enrolled are Māori.

The centre owner manages the centre. The responsibilities of the role of head teacher are shared amongst the teachers on a rotational basis. The teaching team consists of five qualified teachers and one teacher in training.

The service's vision is to create a secure, nurturing environment that enhances the wellbeing of all tamariki and their whānau. There is a focus on freedom of expression inclusive of individual development and culture, and working in partnership with the wider community.

The 2015 ERO report highlighted that children were secure and settled. In addition, it noted the caring relationships between adults and children, and the well-developed programme planning process implemented by teachers.

The ERO report also contained recommendations to improve strategic and annual planning, self-review, policy review, hazard management, and teacher appraisal. The centre owner and teachers have responded very positively to these recommendations.

The Review Findings

The service's vision is evident in practice. Teachers know children and their whānau well. There are good opportunities for discussions between teachers and parents at pick up and drop off times. These conversations have a focus on children's learning and help to deepen teachers' knowledge of families and the community. Consultation with whānau is used to inform centre developments.

Teachers promote children's sense of wellbeing and belonging in the centre. Children aged under two years benefit from the team's focus on consistent caregiving. This ensures a developing and collective knowledge of how to support and comfort individual children.

Centre routines provide good opportunities for children to experience long periods of uninterrupted play. This enables them to become deeply engaged in their explorations and learning. Older children set up high level co-operative play scenarios where they collaboratively assign and accept roles, negotiate and take turns. They are well supported to develop social competence.

Children are conversational and articulate. Teachers engage children in conversations, providing new vocabulary and modelling language. They also skilfully use te reo Māori as part of their interactions with children. Tikanga Māori is woven through the programme and evident in the use of karakia and waiata. Children's identity, language and culture are enhanced as Māori.

Teachers provide a wide curriculum that includes science, mathematics and literacy. Visitors to the centre and excursions enrich the programme. Children's knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy is developed through a focus on healthy eating and opportunities to participate in regular exercise, which include events run by the community.

Assessment of learning is used well by teachers to plan the curriculum. Teachers use a range of approaches to identify children's capabilities and diagnose where extra support may be needed. Portfolios of learning are individual to the child and are starting to reflect both the continuity and developing complexity of their learning. Assessment practices give children agency and enhance their mana.

The centre has been through a process of significant development which has resulted in the establishment and implementation of:

  • a framework of policies and procedures consistent with current legislation
  • a robust process of teacher appraisal resulting in an organisational culture of continuous improvement
  • an effective, systematic process for internal evaluation.

Teachers evaluate various aspects of practice that result in positive outcomes for children. The centre owner and team have developed an annual plan to guide centre operations. They could now evaluate their progress towards meeting annual goals, and plan more strategically for the future by setting longer term goals.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have discussed with ERO key next steps, which include:

  • recording parents' feedback and aspirations for their children in children's individual portfolios of learning
  • the use of assessment information to evaluate how well the curriculum is helping the service achieve its vision
  • a review of curriculum areas to ensure there are sufficient resources of good quality to inspire children's critical thought, wondering and creativity
  • further development of the team culture through the establishment of more frequent whole team meetings focused on children's learning. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd 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 Creative Minds (Kaeo) Ltd will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

23 February 2018 

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 


Kaeo, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      15
Girls       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

November 2017

Date of this report

23 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

February 2009

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.