A Step Ahead Early Learning Centre - 18/04/2019

1 Evaluation of A Step Ahead Early Learning Centre

How well placed is A Step Ahead Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

A Step Ahead Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


A Step Ahead Early Learning Centre is a family owned and operated business in Blockhouse Bay. It is licensed to provide for up to 20 children over two years of age. The centre serves a culturally diverse community.

The centre's philosophy is founded on learning through play, with some structure and routines in each day. Teachers aim to provide a programme based on children's interests and learning needs.

The teaching team consists of a manager and two other registered teachers. Two part-time relieving teachers are currently in training.

The 2015 ERO report commented positively about teachers' inclusive and sensitive interactions with children. These aspects continue to be present. The report recommended strengthening bicultural practice and internal evaluation, and extending children's understanding and use of language. Some progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and friendly. They are respectful in their interactions with their peers and teachers. Children settle quickly and make choices about their play. Resources are accessible, promoting children's sense of independence.

Teachers interact with children in nurturing and responsive ways. They model appropriate behaviour and intentionally support children to develop skills for social competence. Children value others and look after each other's wellbeing.

Teachers are inclusive and make efforts to ensure that children from diverse cultural backgrounds feel a sense of belonging at the centre. They promote bicultural practices through the use of te reo Māori, and the provision of resources and relevant displays.

Parents are comfortable and relaxed in the centre, often staying with their children as they settle. Displays encourage parents to engage in conversation with teachers about what children are doing while at the centre.

Teachers are continuing to develop a shared understanding of quality planning and assessment practices. Regularly recorded assessments are a mix of individual and group stories. Children's voice is sought and recorded in documentation and in displays. This supports children's sense of belonging and creates opportunities for them to revisit their learning. Parents' aspirations are shared in their children's individual portfolios. Teachers plan collaboratively, provide resources, and create environments to help extend children's interests.

The teaching team uses a clear framework for internal evaluation. The process could be strengthened by having an evaluative question or focus, and setting specific measurable quality indicators. This would enable teachers to measure the impact of their evaluation and subsequent changes, on outcomes for children.

The centre has established its strategic vision and philosophy. It is now timely to review and adapt the philosophy and vision to ensure their alignment with the intent of Te Whāriki 2017, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers could also evaluate their progress towards achieving the centre's goals and vision.

The manager is supportive and inclusive, encouraging a sense of trust and belonging for teachers. The appraisal system reflects Teaching Council requirements and supports teachers with improving their teaching practice. Accessing relevant professional learning and development opportunities would help teachers to make decisions that impact positively on their teaching practice and children's learning outcomes.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers agree the next steps are to continue:

  • evaluating and critiquing the effectiveness of teaching practice and learning environments in promoting complexity in children's play and learning

  • strengthening the recording of teachers' responses to children's individual interests and dispositions, and making children's learning and progress more visible in assessment and evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of A Step Ahead Early Learning 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

18 April 2019

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


Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 18 Boys 13

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

18 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2015

Education Review

September 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.