Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga - 25/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga

How well placed is Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga 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.


This is the first ERO review of Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga, a privately owned centre that opened in 2015. It provides all-day education and care for up to 75 children, including 30 children under the age of two. The centre is located in a successfully modified commercial building close to the township of Onehunga. Children come from a culturally diverse community. This cultural diversity is reflected in the teaching team.

The centre's philosophy is based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and is influenced by Reggio Emilia principles, which promote a programme based on respect, responsibility, and community. It supports children's exploration and discovery based on their interests, in a supportive and enriching environment.

The children are grouped by age into Tiny Tuis, Cheeky Keas and Mighty Moreporks, each group having its own room and outdoor area. There is also a project room upstairs that is sometimes used by older children.

The centre is governed by the owners, one of whom works closely with the centre director. The lead teachers from each room meet regularly with the centre director. These meetings ensure that there is a coordinated approach to children's education and care across the centre.

The Review Findings

Teaching approaches are consistent with the centre philosophy, respecting each child's individuality. Teachers work with children to support their learning as they follow their interests. Children experience respectful and supportive relationships with adults and this is reflected in their relationships with other children.

Older children quickly settle when they arrive and soon engage in activities, making choices about how they spend their time. They know centre routines well, and also know that participation in planned activities such as mat times is often optional.

Children's oral language and cognitive development are well supported through the conversations that teachers encourage. The development of early literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge are supported in the context of play. Children enjoy sharing books with their teachers and each other.

Te reo Māori and aspects of Māori culture are very well supported by teachers and visible in the programme and learning environment. Teachers skilfully include te reo Māori into conversations and activities. Centre directors have taken an interest in knowing, and sharing information with children about the local area from a Māori perspective. Matariki was celebrated with the support of students from a local school.

Family cultures are celebrated at the centre. Parents are invited to contribute and participate in events such Fathers' Day, Diwali and the Chinese New Year. Teachers are sometimes able to speak with children and their families in their home languages.

Teachers document their observations of children in individual portfolios. They record what they notice and explain its significance in terms of the child's development. They could now consider ways of recording how they plan to use this information to further support children's learning.

Teachers communicate well with parents and encourage them to share information about their children. Successful information sharing helps teachers to plan programmes and to follow infants' home, food and sleep routines.

The centre is well designed and resourced. Centre directors promote the use of equipment made from natural materials. Children have ready access to indoor and outdoor areas and can easily access appropriate resources to support their play.

The kitchen and dining area is an important part of the centre, helping children to learn about food and nutrition. The qualified chef supports children to gain knowledge and attitudes that promote healthy eating. Children grow vegetables that sometimes contribute to their meals.

Transitions into, through, and from the centre are thoughtfully managed. Children move from Tiny Tuis to Cheeky Keas and on to Mighty Moreporks when they are developmentally ready, rather than by age. The centre is beginning to build relationships with some of the schools that children might move on to.

The centre is well led. Policies are developed and reviewed to ensure that the centre is meeting legal requirements. The professional leadership provided, and the staff appraisal approaches used, support teachers' ongoing professional development. Experienced teachers mentor teachers who are new to the profession.

The owners are strategic in their approach to developing the centre and all staff use internal evaluation to promote improvement. 

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that the centre would benefit from strengthening:

  • strategic planning by identifying and planning for clear improvement focused goals

  • internal evaluation, through greater use of evaluative questions to guide the review process

  • assessment of and planning for children's learning by documenting how teachers could respond to individual children's strengths, needs and interests.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga 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 Nurture Early Learning - Onehunga will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

25 May 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 


Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 45 Girls 39

Ethnic composition

other ethnicities


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

March 2017

Date of this report

25 May 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.