The Children's Garden - 20/02/2018

1 Evaluation of The Children's Garden

How well placed is The Children's Garden 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.


The Children's Garden is a small family oriented, mixed-age service that provides full day care and education for up to 30 children aged from birth to school age. Infants, toddlers and young children play and learn together in a thoughtfully renovated family home and in spacious outdoor areas.

The owners are fully involved as managers and teachers in this new service. They are supported by a curriculum leader, a team of teachers and a centre cook. Most of the staff are qualified early childhood teachers. The service philosophy is founded on the teachings of Emmi Pikler and the Respect in Education approach to early childhood education.

This service opened in April 2016 and this is its first education review.

The Review Findings

The owners have a clear vision and well-considered desired outcomes for children's learning that guide all aspects of the programme and practices in the centre. These key factors support the service to achieve positive outcomes for children.

Children and their families benefit from respectful, caring, relationships with their teachers. Each child is assigned a designated caregiver who develops close connections with the child and their family and works in partnership with them to best support the child's learning and development.

Teachers know the children well and are responsive to their needs and preferences. Infants and toddlers benefit from an unhurried and individualised approach. Teachers have meaningful conversations with children as they join them in their play.

Children confidently play and learn in calm and peaceful indoor and outdoor areas. These areas have encouraged children's engagement with nature. Teachers provide uninterrupted time and space for children to explore, create and imagine. Older children are encouraged to be considerate of younger children as they play and learn together.

Teachers provide a child-led programme where children develop:

  • peaceful relationships with those around them

  • skills of problem solving and collaboration

  • physical and creative abilities

  • respect for and connections to nature, including a sense of awe and wonder.

Māori concepts and values are embedded in aspects of policy and the programme and contribute to Māori children feeling their culture is valued. The owner identified, and ERO agrees, that teachers could extend the inclusion of te reo Māori and bicultural perspectives in the day-to-day programme.

Children with additional needs are well supported in their learning. Teachers make good use of information from home to plan meaningful experiences and strategies to support and extend their learning in particular areas.

The owners have established useful systems and practices to ensure the smooth running of this new service. They have built constructive links with other services locally and nationally to share and build best practice.

In this new and developing centre the owners and staff are highly responsive and improvement focused. The owners have high expectations for themselves, children and teachers. They have clear priorities for the direction of the service. The next step is to formalise these by developing long and short term planning to guide the direction and ongoing improvements of the service.

Internal evaluation practices are still at the developing stages. Over time, the owners will need to ensure that all teachers develop a shared understanding of effective internal evaluation. They should then extend the scope of evaluation to be assured about how well the service's philosophy and desired outcomes for learning are met.

Leaders and teachers also need to ensure that planning for individuals and groups of children clearly states the intended learning, and the strategies teachers will use to support this learning. They should also show how they respond to parents' wishes for their children's learning.

Key Next Steps

The owners, teachers and ERO have identified that the next steps are to continue to:

  • strengthen systems for assessment, planning and evaluation to foreground learning and how teachers support this learning

  • continue to implement a bicultural curriculum

  • develop long and short-term planning to guide the service priorities

  • develop effective internal-evaluation practices and extend the scope of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of The Children's Garden 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 The Children's Garden will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

20 February 2018

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


Stoke, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 22

Boys: 19

Ethnic composition



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

December 2017

Date of this report

20 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous 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.