ABC Botany - 04/10/2017

1 Evaluation of ABC Botany

How well placed is ABC Botany 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.


ABC Botany is licensed to provide four-hour sessions or full-day education and care for 104 children, including up to 24 children under the age of two. There are four age-specific groups, each with its own room. Children from the Fantail room transition to the Tuatara room at approximately two years of age. Three-year-old children move to the Pukeko room and then on to Koru when they are between three-and-a-half and four years.

The children and their teachers are from diverse cultural backgrounds. Approximately a third of the children identify as Māori or Pākehā, a third are Chinese and a third identify with a wide range of other cultures.

The centre is part of the BestStart organisation, which provides a strong management framework. It also provides a range of support services and personnel, including a professional services manager (PSM) and a business manager (BM), to support the operation of the centre. The centre is led by a centre manager and four head teachers. It employs a team of teachers and caregivers as well as a cook and an administrator. The experienced centre manager is relatively new to the centre.

The centre's educational philosophy is based on respectful relationships and the value of children learning through play. Teachers are expected to support children to lead their own learning. In the Fantail and Tuatara rooms teachers follow a 'primary caregiving' approach.

The centre's 2014 ERO report, acknowledged that teaching improvements were promoting a more child-initiated programme and that teachers were making progress with improving planning and assessment. The report also acknowledged that children had good opportunities to develop early literacy and numeracy skills and concepts. Centre leaders agreed that staff should continue to focus on individualising the programme, building a greater understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori, and strengthening assessment. The centre has made good progress in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of seven reviews in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy being involved in, and learning through, a wide range of play activities. They are keen to explore their environment and interact with one another and their teachers. A culture of care is very evident across the centre. The primary caregiving approach for the younger children is effective because it has established good communication between the teachers, children and families.

Teachers provide an engaging curriculum that is relevant to the children in each room. The educational programme is responsive to children’s individual and group interests, and developmental stages. The rooms and the outdoor areas are well resourced and spacious. Careful thought has been put into making the play spaces attractive and well organised. Children are able to play uninterrupted by other activities and centre routines.

Interactions between teachers and children are respectful. Teachers communicate well with the children, including during care activities, promoting children’s learning and supporting their wellbeing. Teachers often engage children in conversation, giving them time to process their ideas and contribute to the discussion.

There are many opportunities for children to develop their oral language. Literacy and numeracy learning are promoted in the context of play. A lot of resources in the centre support this learning, and conversations support literacy and numeracy concept development. Children confidently invite adults to share books with them.

Cultural diversity is valued and respected, and reflected in the centre environment. Aspects of Māori language and culture are integrated into the education programme. Some children who enrol at the centre are new to the English language. Teachers are often able to talk with these children in their home languages while they support them to learn English.

Relationships between parents and staff are inclusive. Teachers are responsive to parents, and are working on how best to reflect the cultures of the families in the curriculum. Communication with parents about children's learning is improving, especially through the use of electronic portfolios. Children's learning stories would be strengthened by teachers describing the learning of the child over time. This would require them to revisit earlier assessment and planning to show the impact of intentional teaching.

Transitions into and through the centre are well managed. Time is given for children and their families to get to know the teachers and the room environments. Teachers are flexible about children's move to the next room, taking into account each child's readiness and learning needs. Parents are purposefully involved in the transition decisions and processes.

The centre is well led by the manager, with regular input from the BestStart PSM and BM. Good use is made of regular review and reflection to inform the centre's strategic planning. The evaluation provided by BestStart professional services and business managers helps to identify strategic goals.

Staff work well together as a team. Managers have high expectations of the staff and work strategically for ongoing improvement. This improvement is supported by an effective appraisal system and ongoing professional development. There are plans in place to grow leadership within the centre.

BestStart continues to provide good support for centres through professional development opportunities, management documentation and a range of quality assurance processes. PSMs and BMs maintain positive relationships with centre personnel and have high expectations for centre performance. The challenge for PSMs is to use their current focus on teaching as inquiry and newly developed mentoring processes to help centre managers and teachers achieve the high quality practices that BestStart values. Recent work to establish goal-focused strategic plans in each centre should also help to facilitate meaningful improvements in teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

Managers have identified relevant improvement priorities and are supporting teachers to:

  • strengthen the documenting of planning, assessment and programme evaluation
  • make internal evaluation more evaluative
  • increase the cultural responsiveness of the curriculum.

Significant work is being done to support improvement in these areas.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Botany 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 ABC Botany will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

4 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


Botany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

104 children, including up to 24 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 60 Girls 59

Ethnic composition

other ethnicities


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

July 2017

Date of this report

4 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

March 2011

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.