A Place to Grow - 04/03/2016

1 Evaluation of A Place to Grow

How well placed is A Place to Grow 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.


A Place to Grow is a privately owned home-based education and care service located in Fielding, Manawatu. The service is licensed to operate from 0.500 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.

Approximately 18 educators provide education and care for 78 children in educators’ homes. Educators care for up to four children at any one time. Of those children enrolled in the network at the time of this ERO review, 23 identify as Māori. 

The managers also have a role as visiting teachers. They are responsible for building educators' capability and monitoring and reporting positive developments. Both are qualified and registered teachers. Each educator is provided with a manual outlining operational procedures and professional support to plan and provide educational programmes for children.

The vision of the service is to co-ordinate and support holistic, independent learning and the development of each child. The vision is promoted through providing free-play learning opportunities, with life skills supported by an educator who captures teachable moments.

The service philosophy is guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

There have been some gains in addressing the areas for development identified in the February 2013 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Information shows that children engage in a wide range of learning experiences at the educator's home and in the wider community. The service philosophy reflects the diverse learning community. The principles place value on the child's ways of knowing, doing and being and these are enacted through respectful engagement and shared reflections from parents and whānau. This supports families' involvement in their children’s learning.

Coordinators communicate regularly with educators and visit homes monthly. They pay close attention to ensuring health and safety expectations are met, children’s interests are noted and educator practice is acknowledged. Educators are at different stages of professional development.

Children’s journals capture special moments and along with educator notes, provide useful information for parents about their child’s play and learning. Links to the principles and strands of Te Whāriki are woven through these attractively presented narratives and photos.Child-led play is well supported and learning responsive to individual interests is evident.

Māori children have opportunities to experience success as Māori. All children have a curriculum that incorporates aspects of te ao Māori and affirms culture, language and identity. ERO's evaluation supports the service's next step that is to continue to build visiting teachers, educators and children's knowledge of te ao Māori.

Children with diverse learning needs are welcomed and well supported. Purposeful relationships with a range of professional organisations and agencies are established. Coordinators work collaboratively with families to support positive outcomes for these children.

Opportunities for parents and whānau to express their aspirations for their children are available. ERO's evaluation supports the service's recognised next steps, to consult parents more widely and to strengthen learning partnerships for children.

Service leaders provide well planned and regular playgroups where educators and children are supported to share experiences, and make links to home and the local community. The recently acquired building provides a learning hub where children, educators, parents and coordinators meet for playgroup. Educators have opportunities for social interactions with one another and children. Coordinators and educators use this time well to model positive teaching practice. They discuss topics of interest and consider how improvements to practice could be made. These sessions are an important part of the services curriculum.

A carefully considered recruitment, induction and professional development process is in place. Professional learning opportunities have been accessed to improve outcomes for children. Changes in educator practice has strengthened planning and assessment. A well thought out appraisal process contributes to building educator capability. The approach is improvement focused. Educators are encouraged to lead at regular playgroups and model new ideas and ways to extend children’s learning in larger group situations.

Self review is being implemented and informs decision making. A next step is to focus more explicitly on outcomes for children in the internal evaluation process.

The management team has developed a range of good quality documentation to support educators. Appropriate attention is paid to ensure that health and safety and legislative requirements for home-based education and care are being met. Quality assurance practices are well developed.

Key Next Steps

Centre management and ERO agree to:

  • continue to distribute leadership and develop educator capability to strengthen learning outcomes for children
  • further develop internal evaluation to effectively review the quality of teaching practices and programmes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of A Place to Grow completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 A Place to Grow will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

4 March 2016

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 Home-based Education and Care Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 45, Boys 33

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2



Over 2


Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

4 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.