Tuakau's Little Stars Early Childhood Centre - 25/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Tuakau's Little Stars Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Tuakau's Little Stars Early Childhood Centre 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.


Tuakau’s Little Stars Early Childhood Centre provides quality all-day care and education from Monday to Friday. The centre is licensed for up to 48 children from infancy to school age. Tuakau's Little Stars operates in two adjacent houses and is privately owned.

Since the last review, priority has been placed upon upgrading and improving the indoor environments for children’s learning. The centre has continued to undertake professional learning and development for leaders and teachers. A new centre philosophy has been developed through consultation with teachers and whānau. Value is placed on caring relationships, family, creating a sustainable environment and a high standard of professionalism.

The owners have responded positively to the recommendations made in the 2014 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Leaders work collaboratively to develop a clear vision for learning, and to build professional capability across the centre. They have developed a new centre philosophy in collaboration with teachers and whānau. Strategic and annual planning gives clear direction for the future of the centre. The centre has undertaken significant self review to improve and develop systems. Policies and procedures are updated regularly and clear expectations and practices are embedded to help guide all centre operations.

Leaders access appropriate professional learning and development to build leadership and teachers' professional practice. There is a strong collaborative culture for learning where teachers are supported to share their knowledge.

Performance management contributes to the service achieving its goals. It would be timely to review the appraisal system to align with the new Education Council guidelines and the principles of Tātaiako. This is necessary to strengthen the quality of evidence and build teacher capability and confidence with te reo and tikanga Māori across the centre.

There are warm trusting relationships between teachers and children, and this reflects the centre's philosophy of care and respect. Teachers use oral language to extend children’s learning, reinforce social skills, encourage problem solving, develop critical thinking and scaffold new learning. Mat times include a strong focus on reading, writing and oral language which supports readiness for school. Routines and transitions are well managed by children. Teachers are responsive to children’s needs and their wellbeing. Children are confident and well engaged in their learning.

Teachers and leaders have a collaborative approach to developing a curriculum linked to Te Whariki, early childhood curriculum. Deliberate group planning by teachers is based on children’s emerging interests, and enriches learning experiences for all. Individual planning is personalised for children’s learning pathways and regularly monitored and evaluated. The curriculum is being strengthened by the inclusion of te reo Māori and teachers are developing their capability and confidence.

Teachers show a strong commitment to gathering parent voice. Their aspirations are captured in children’s learning portfolios. Infants up to two years of age experience responsive relationships and access to a key teacher for continuity of care and learning. Teachers maintain a calm, slow pace in which young children have space and time to explore, play and learn. The centre has developed an attractive environment with appropriate resources for infants.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified that the key next step for teachers is to:

  • further enable children's self-management skills through meaningful outdoor play experiences, by enriching the outdoor environment with integrated literacy, numeracy and science.

  • continue to develop and strengthen the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori through reviewing the appraisal system to align to the new education council requirement and Tātaiako

  • link internal evaluation to outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tuakau's Little Stars Early Childhood Centre 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 Tuakau's Little Stars Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

25 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

48 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 26

Ethnic composition

Other Pacific
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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

25 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

August 2014

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

March 2010

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.