First Steps Puni Rd - 01/12/2017

1 Evaluation of First Steps Puni Road

How well placed is First Steps Puni Road 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.


First Steps Puni Road provides full day education and care for children from the Pukekohe community. The centre is licensed for 70 children, including 14 up to 2 years of age. The diversity of teachers' cultural backgrounds reflects that of children and families in the centre. Māori children make up a third of the children enrolled.

The centre operates in two separate purpose-built facilities with spacious outdoor areas. There are separate spaces for infants and toddlers, and for children over two years of age. The centre manager works with two head teachers, teaching teams, and support staff.

The centre's philosophy is underpinned by the whakataukī, 'Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu' (although small, it is precious). It promotes a safe and nurturing place where children feel a strong sense of security and belonging. The principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are central to the philosophy.

First Steps Puni Road operates under the BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation. BestStart provides an overarching governance and management framework, as well as personnel to support individual centres.

ERO's 2014 report commented positively on a programme that provides learning through play and positive relationships for children. The report's next steps included programme planning, self review, cultural responsiveness, and strategic planning. Progress has been made in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children are recognised as capable and confident individuals. They experience child-centred programmes in an environment of aroha and trust. Their resilience, perseverance and confidence are developed well. Children's social and emotional competence are also promoted, and programmes foster empathy, responsibility and links with the community.

Children enjoy good access to outdoor areas with appropriate equipment and activities. The centre's display walls are used to demonstrate children's participation in ongoing explorations and interests.

Teachers' caregiving approaches meet infants' needs well. Teachers work alongside parents to follow each child's own routine and individual needs so that infants settle well in the environment. Toddlers access well-resourced areas that provide opportunities for exploration. Positive and settled processes support children's transitions into the over-two area.

Teachers are beginning to integrate te reo me ōna tikanga Māori in the programme. Children have opportunities to celebrate cultural events and enjoy excursions that broaden their learning experiences.

Whānau actively support the centre's development. Teachers use an electronic portal to keep parents informed about their children's learning and events in the centre. They could also identify, in children's individual portfolios, the steps they intend taking to build on children's interests, strengths and dispositions for learning.

BestStart supports teachers’ professional growth, providing relevant and ongoing professional learning and development. The organisation continues to review its appraisal system, which encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. Leaders recognise that guiding teachers to collaboratively inquire into the impact of their teaching on outcomes for children would further build teachers' capability.

Relevant governance systems guide centre operations. The professional services manager and the business manager conduct internal audit processes. They regularly share quality assurance reports to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Teachers are open to new learning and are encouraged to develop leadership and responsibility. They use internal evaluation to promote ongoing improvements, and would benefit from support to strengthen their evaluation practices.

The centre’s strategic plan is linked to the BestStart vision, and will align with the organisation's strategic plan that is currently under review.

Key Next Steps

Teachers have identified appropriate next steps, including:

  • strengthening the promotion of children's thinking and creativity

  • developing children's understanding and use of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori

  • using indicators of effective practice to strengthen the depth and rigour of internal evaluation.

BestStart managers have identified the need to:

  • continue developing the BestStart strategic intentions and goals to provide a clearer guide for centre development

  • refine the appraisal system to include a focus on professional collaboration and teaching as inquiry.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Steps Puni Road 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 First Steps Puni Road will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

1 December 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


Pukekohe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 14 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 46 Girls 40

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

1 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

April 2008

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.