ERO’s work is focused on equity and excellence for all children in education. This is reflected in ERO’s purpose and whakataukī.

The Equity and Excellence image shows our purpose which is Our evaluation insights are a catalyst for change so that every child achieves success as a lifelong learner, and our whatatauki which is Ko te Tamaiti te Putake o te Kaupapa The Child - the Heart of the Matter.

ERO’s focus is on the learner at the centre, learners and their whānau, and learners and the profession. This report considers:

  • Learner at the centre.

Where they come from, how they learn, their interests and achievements.

Ruia te Taitea he pito matā.

  • Learners and their whānau.

Involved, informed and contributing.

Mā te whakaaro nui e hanga te whare, mā te mātauranga e whakaū.

  • Learners and the profession.

Influenced by kaupapa Māori

Mā te mātauranga, ka ū te maramatanga.

Research shows that children who are involved in high quality early childhood education benefit in many ways, and that these benefits also extend to their whānau and the wider community. Taking part in early childhood education builds a strong foundation for children’s ongoing education, learning and development.

Ngā Puna Whakatupu are kaupapa Māori-based early childhood centres that share a common aspiration to nurture children on their path to becoming lifelong learners. Their charters define that for every mokopuna in a Puna Whakatupu, there is also a whānau who is engaged in education. This report is based on a review of five Puna Whakatupu where the majority of kaimahi, whānau and children are Māori.

They share similar kaupapa Māori philosophies that influence the way they work and the approach they take as they provide education and care for their children.

The purpose of this report

ERO was interested in finding out and sharing the ways these Puna Whakatupu and their whānau nurture children on their paths to lifelong learning.

ERO’s 2012 report Partnership with Whānau Māori in Early Childhood Servicesidentified that Māori have a growing expectation of an education system that promotes culturally responsive partnership with whānau. In this report ERO set out to report on how Puna Whakatupu successfully work with whānau to improve participation in, and quality of, early childhood education for Māori children and their whānau.

Kaupapa Māori theory provides a platform from which Māori articulate their own reality, their own experience and their own personal truth. Inherent in this approach is an understanding that Māori have fundamentally different ways of seeing and thinking about the world and simply wish to be able to live in accordance with that specific and unique identity (p.4). 
Mahuika (2008)

In Term 3, 2014 ERO undertook a cluster review of five Puna Whakatupu as part of scheduled education reviews. During the course of these reviews, we identified a range of good practice that was investigated further. 

The stories in this report reflect effective practice documented in ERO’s 2015 reportInfants and toddlers: competent and confident communicators and explorers. In theInfants and toddlers report, relationships and interactions between teachers, children and their parents and whānau were strong, valued and prioritised. Culture and identity were respected and responded to through the curriculum and children were encouraged to explore and try new challenges. Like the puna stories in this report, embedded within their practice was the concept of whanaungatanga - the centrality of quality relationships and providing a whānau-like context that supports engagement and learning.

Working in partnership with whānau

ERO and Puna Whakatupu management then worked together to co-construct how we would work together, following good evaluation practice; influenced by agreed values and principles. As a result the reviews are based on whanaungatanga, as expressed by the following guiding principles:

  • ERO are manuhiri throughout the reviews.
  • ERO respects and acknowledges the unique nature for each Puna Whakatupu.
  • ERO will provide opportunity to all Puna Whakatupu staff and whānau to be heard.
  • ERO will observe ngā ūara o Ngā Puna Whakatupu.
  • ERO will collect information from hui, observations of learning and supporting documentation.
  • ERO will provide feedback throughout the review.
  • ERO’s synthesis of findings will include personnel from Ngā Puna Whakatupu.