Lovely Lotus Childcare - 26/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Lovely Lotus Childcare

How well placed is Lovely Lotus Childcare to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The service needs to develop and embed sustainable systems to support ongoing improvements in the curriculum and teaching practices to promote better learning opportunities for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Lovely Lotus Childcare is privately owned. It caters for 42 children, including 15 aged up to two. Of the 49 children enrolled, seven identify as Māori. The centre serves a wide, multicultural community.

Since the May 2015 ERO report, the centre has expanded and now caters for infants and toddlers in a separate house, adjacent to the over two-year-olds area. Each area has its own playground.

The owner/manager has overall responsibility for centre operation, supported by two leaders who provide professional guidance for teachers.

Some improvements have been made in response to the previous ERO report. The centre manager/owner has been appraised and the service has focused on establishing relationships with parents and families. However, progress has been limited in aligning the centre's philosophy and teaching practices with appraisal and self review.

The Review Findings

A calm settled environment provides opportunity for infants and toddlers to explore a range of resources at their own pace. Teachers have built strong relationship with parents. This helps children settle quickly into the centre. Teachers promote connections between home and the centre.

Teachers are actively growing their bicultural knowledge and are implementing it in the curriculum. Aspects of te ao Māori are evident within the environment. These are positive foundations for staff to further explore a range of targeted and responsive strategies that promote educational success for Māori.

A diverse teaching team is well used to support children's and their families' sense of belonging. A variety of wall displays depict multicultural artefacts, art work and the centre's participation in cultural celebrations. Strengthening partnerships with Pacific families to promote educational success for Pacific children is a next step.

Children with additional learning needs are effectively supported. Teachers liaise with parents and external agencies to promote positive outcomes for children with additional learning needs.

Individual portfolios effectively capture children's interests and their participation in the programme. Teachers value play as an important vehicle for learning and provide opportunities for children to revisit this.

Teachers gather a wide range of useful information about children's home contexts, language and parent aspirations. Using this information to better inform centre assessment, programme planning and evaluation practices is required. In addition, it is necessary to include formative approaches to assessment that clearly show how teachers plan and use specific strategies to support individual children's learning.

Transitions into the centre are well considered. Teachers' sensitivity and responsive strategies support the needs and first languages of children and their families.

Transition to school programmes and practices require improvement. Useful information is shared with parents to support their understanding of school readiness for their children. To integrate literacy and numeracy learning meaningfully for children, teachers need to draw on current early learning best practice and research and reflect the intent of Te Whāriki.

Leaders' and teachers' understanding of purposeful self review that leads to ongoing improvement is not well developed. A priority is to build teachers' and manager's capability and capacity to implement robust review and internal evaluation, to improve the quality of systems, programmes, teaching practice and learning outcomes for children.

A review of the philosophy has occurred at teacher level only. This should be reviewed in consultation with parents and whānau to ensure that it reflects the centre's community.

Some key management practices require improvement to assist staff build their teaching capability and ensure shared expectations for high quality education and care. Improved leadership is needed in appraisal and annual planning. Review of centre policies needs to be systematic and sufficiently robust to clearly reflect the requirements of the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Services 2008.

The appraisal system needs improvement to better support teachers to improve their practice. Currently, feedback to staff is not sufficiently developmental to support this. For certificate endorsement, the centre manager needs to collect appropriate evidence, aligned to her leadership goals and the Practising Teacher Criteria.

The programme of professional support, guidance and monitoring of teacher practice requires development to promote growth. Explicit support and resourcing should be established for leaders’ development. The provision for provisionally registered teachers is not clearly outlined and mentoring is inconsistent.

Key Next Steps

Leaders, managers and teachers need to build their capacity to fully understand, strengthen, develop and use the following to improve outcomes for children:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation practices

  • transition to school programmes and practices

  • targeted strategies that promote educational success for Māori and Pacific children

  • staff appraisal

  • strategic direction and review and internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lovely Lotus Childcare 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • develop an ongoing process of internal evaluation that helps the service to maintain and improve the quality of its education and care
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6]

  • the assessment and management of risk before children leave the premises on a regular or special excursion.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS17]

Leaders, teachers and whānau need to immediately gain a greater understanding of the licensing criteria for early childhood services to ensure they at all times meet these requirements.

While onsite, ERO identified policies and procedures that required more clarity. This included updating a child protection policy to meet the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. The centre has responded to these discussions. A more systematic approach, including dating policies and procedures, should assist with currency and monitoring. To improve, further work is required to understand, put in practice and monitor implementation of these recently updated and amended policies and procedures.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lovely Lotus Childcare will be within two years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

26 October 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

27 Boys, 18 Girls

Ethnic composition

Other Asian
Other ethnic groups


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 2017

Date of this report

26 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2014

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.