Feathers Early Learning Centre - 25/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Feathers Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Feathers Early Learning Centre 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.


Feathers Early Learning Centre provides full day education and care in a purpose-built centre. It caters for up to 49 children, including 20 infants up to two years old. Children are organised in two age related groups that have their own indoor and outdoor learning environments.

The centre's philosophy promotes responsiveness to children's cultural identity and recognises that children are independent and self-managing learners. Staff value the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and affirm children's diverse ethnic backgrounds in the programme. Reggio Emilia approaches influence teaching and learning practices in the centre.

Teachers' valuing of children, whānau and people from their local learning community is expressed in a whakataukī that they have adopted to guide their practice, 'He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!'

The managing director, supported by the supervisor, ensures that the day-to-day programme and centre operations run smoothly. Centre systems and procedures are developed and monitored by the managing director, who accesses professional advice and training as needed. In addition she makes all governance, management, finance and personnel decisions and keeps the owner updated on business matters.

The centre has six fully registered teachers, including the managing director, and one untrained teacher. A regular reliever is employed to maintain consistent relationships with children and maintain teacher:child ratios.

The 2013 ERO report suggested that managers should review the policies and procedures, align performance appraisal systems to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, use high quality practice indicators as a part of the centre's internal review, and consistently use strategies to extend children's learning. Some good progress has recently been made in each of these areas.

The Review Findings

The programme in this centre reflects teachers' shared philosophy, and the belief that children learn through play. Teachers use their professional skills to help children become capable and competent learners. Learning opportunities support and develop all aspects of children's development. Children are encouraged to lead their own learning at their own pace.

Children have a strong sense of belonging and are relaxed and settled. Many are vocally expressive, active learners. Curiosity and exploration are evident in their play, and they are able to make choices freely in the well organised and resourced learning environments. Children enjoy their learning spaces and make good use of natural resources and everyday utensils in their play. Teachers are continuing to develop the learning spaces with the view of further promoting Reggio Emilia learning approaches, and to strengthening learning outcomes for all children.

The children are socially competent and engage in friendly interactions with each other. Teachers engage children in conversations to extend their play, language and thinking. They provide both individual and group learning experiences.

Children's learning is recorded in portfolios and in project books using the 'notice, recognise and respond' assessment process. Children's progress is evaluated against the strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Older children are helped to prepare for their transition into school. Some whānau contribute their ideas and skills to the programme and to planning for their children's learning.

Governance and management systems and self-review practices continue to be reviewed and refined. Teachers' involvement in professional development is helping to improve the quality of outcomes for children and the operation of the centre.

Strategic planning is aligned well with the centre's vision and philosophy. Responsibility for implementing strategic plans is allocated to the centre director and teachers in the annual plan. Performance management systems are under review and have recently been redesigned to include the cultural competencies identified in Tātaiako. These competencies are yet to be monitored through the appraisal process.

Key Next Steps

The managing director and supervisor agree that they should continue building the quality of the curriculum and centre operations, including appraisal, using external professional development providers.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Feathers Early Learning Centre 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 Feathers Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 October 2016

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


Massey, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 21

Ethnic composition



Cook Island Māori




South East Asian












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

August 2016

Date of this report

25 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

September 2010

Education Review

June 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.