Farmyard Preschool - 12/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Farmyard Preschool

How well placed is Farmyard Preschool 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.


Farmyard Preschool provides care and education for children from two to five years of age. It is in Upper Hutt and licensed for 39 children. Of the 56 children enrolled, seven identify as Māori and three are of Pacific heritage.

The centre opened in 2016 and has experienced rapid growth. Plans are currently underway to build another service onsite, to cater for children up to two years old. All day and sessional care and education is available. A head teacher has recently been appointed to support the teaching team.

Children have the option of daily interactions with animals. This is an integral part of the curriculum and children are encouraged to care for them.

This is the centre's first ERO review.

The Review Findings

The current philosophy is clearly evident in practice. Children are actively encouraged to participate in the care of the animals and the centre environment. Their empathy and emerging independence skills are fostered. With an increase in new families attending, the service has identified that it is timely to review the philosophy. ERO's evaluation affirms this step.

Children's interests, preferences and involvement are encouraged through a wide range of opportunities. Teachers are responsive to children's cues and provide a language-rich environment inclusive of sign language. Mathematics and science experiences are naturally integrated throughout the programme.

Group planning is well understood and implemented. This provides opportunities for children to participate in teacher-led activities that promote and extend centre-wide focuses. Teachers notice and respond to children's interests. Parents have opportunities to contribute to their child's learning. Portfolios are beginning to show learners' ongoing development and complexity of learning.

To support an improved approach, a robust planning process for individual children should be implemented to respond to:

  • the strengths, interests and learning dispositions of individual children

  • the specific cultural aspirations of parents and making this visible in assessment documentation.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are well promoted. A range of resources, displays and artefacts make te ao Māori visible. Te reo Māori is used in meaningful ways and is well understood by children. Developing relationships with whānau Māori has been as ongoing focus. Growing learning partnerships is a next step.

Leaders acknowledge that promoting success for Pacific children is an area to continue to develop.

Children with diverse needs are well supported. There are regular meetings between agencies, whānau, and centre staff. Children’s individual learning plan goals are evident in the assessment and planning process.

Transitions into and through the centre are well-considered and a collaborative process. Links with local new entrant teachers have been made. Parents have access to a wide range of information from local schools to support them as their children move to school.

Professional learning development has developed teachers' understanding of self review. Spontaneous reviews have informed the establishment of new routines. Centre management acknowledges ERO's evaluation finding, that building teachers' understanding of and capability of evaluation is a key next step.

The appraisal process should be strengthened. Teachers participate in an annual appraisal that incorporates the Practising Teacher Criteria. Governance and management provide opportunities for teachers to participate in professional learning and development. The teacher appraisal process should include:

  • formal observations of teacher practice

  • feedback aligned to goal setting and evaluation of teacher capability.

Key Next Steps

Leaders, teachers and ERO agree the following key next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment and planning practices with a focus on individual planning

  • practices that promote educational success for Māori and Pacific children

  • teachers' understanding of effective internal evaluation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Farmyard Preschool 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.

To improve practice, leaders and management need to ensure that:

  • centre policies related to recruitment and appraisal policy are implemented
  • the Child Protection policy includes reference to the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Farmyard Preschool will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

12 September 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 


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

39 children

Service roll


Gender composition

29 girls, 27 boys

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

12 September 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.