Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (St. Kilda) - 29/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (St. Kilda)

How well placed is Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (St. Kilda) 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.


Children at Little Wonders Childcare St Kilda learn in five separate areas that cater to the learning and wellbeing of infants, toddlers and young children. It is a full-day service and is licensed for up to 100 children, including 35 children aged under two. Children from a wide range of ethnicities attend the centre.

The service is one of several centres owned privately by the Little Wonders Childcare group. The service receives regular support from the owners. Since the 2014 ERO review, there has been a new infant room added to cater to the specific needs of very young children. The centre is led by an experienced manager, two head teachers and has stable staffing. They have successfully addressed the key next steps from the last review, such as including bicultural programmes, reviewing the philosophy, and monitoring the progress they are making towards the strategic goals.

The Review Findings

The centre vision and desired outcomes for children's learning are clearly stated in the centre philosophy. These outcomes are visible in the environment, evident in practice and in assessment information, and are promoting positive outcomes for children.

Children benefit from secure, responsive and respectful relationships with their teachers. They learn and play in well-defined, calm and uncluttered spaces. Teachers have intentionally created a homely atmosphere. These factors and the well-planned programmes are promoting positive outcomes for children. Teachers skilfully extend children's thinking and learning through intentional teaching strategies. Children are supported to become independent, self-managing, risk-taking and investigative learners. Teachers make the most of local events to enrich children's learning experiences. Many parents add to and support these planned activities alongside their children. Teachers place a strong focus on building children's knowledge and awareness of New Zealand's bicultural heritage and encouraging Māori children to stand strong in their identity.

Children under two have a purpose-built environment that provides calm and appropriate levels of activity. Interactions between them and their teachers are warm and respectful. The provision of primary carers helps children to feel attached and secure.

Teachers plan effectively to meet the needs, interests and abilities of individuals and groups of children. Children's individual learning goals are visible in the environment so that all teachers can support all children to meet their goals. Children with diverse learning needs are well supported by their teachers. Best practice examples show how teachers deliberately planned experiences and identified explicit strategies to support individual children's learning. To further strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation for individuals, teachers need to more consistently show how they plan to support children's next learning steps.

The governing directors are focused on making ongoing improvements to what happens for children. They have:

  • set a clear strategic direction

  • ensured priorities and goals are well supported through professional development, actions and resources, including building capability of leaders

  • created well-established systems to enable the smooth running of the service

  • ensured all important aspects of the centre are reviewed and monitored over time.

To further strengthen strategic planning, directors and leaders need to incorporate a Māori dimension within strategic priorities, and include relevant indicators of good practice in action planning.

The service manager and head teachers provide strong professional leadership. They model high quality teaching practice and purposefully coach and mentor teachers to build capability across the service. Leaders have a focus on strengthening intentional teaching strategies and developing a culture of critical reflection within the staff. They value their teachers and are providing opportunities for distributed leadership and for teachers to grow their leadership skills.

Systems such as appraisal and internal evaluation lead to positive outcomes for children. Leaders and teachers need to continue to strengthen internal evaluation by focusing on 'How well…' programmes and practices are meeting expectations.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps are for directors, leaders and teachers to:

  • ensure a commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is visible in governance documentation

  • strengthen action planning by including relevant indicators of good practice

  • more consistently show how they plan to support all children's next learning steps. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (St. Kilda) 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 Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (St. Kilda) will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

29 June 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

100 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 53

Boys: 53

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

29 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

March 2011

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.