Acorn Kids - 27/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Acorn Kids

How well placed is Acorn Kids 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.


Acorn Kids provides full-day education and care for children from birth to school age in two specific age group settings. The centre operates under the umbrella of Provincial Childcare. It is situated in the commercial area of Gate Pa in Tauranga, and is licensed for 40 children including 16 up to the age of two years. Currently 46 children attend the centre, including ten children who identify as Māori. The centre manager oversees the daily operations and is supported by two senior advisors from Provincial Childcare.

The centre philosophy is founded on a holistic approach to learning. Partnership is at the forefront of practice and focuses on a multi-voice approach to learning and teaching, which builds on children's and teachers learning potential. Identity and culture is celebrated through everyday practice which embraces the underpinning principles inherent of Te Tirity o Waitangi.

Since the last ERO review a new centre manager has been appointed and there have been several changes to the teaching team. The centre has responded positively to the last ERO report. Significant improvements have been made to the environment, the philosophy for teaching and learning and to strategic planning.

The Review Findings

Teachers have a strong commitment to establishing and maintaining reciprocal and positive relationships for children and their families. Respectful teaching interactions promote children's wellbeing and belonging, and full participation in the learning programme. Teachers prepare a well-designed learning environment. A recently developed planning template assists teachers to identify children's interests and respond to their strengths. They work collaboratively in the best interests of children. Responsive teaching supports children as knowledgeable and capable self-managing learners.

The curriculum has been developed to reflect a play-based approach to learning. All areas of play are visible and available to children. Literacy and numeracy learning is embedded authentically into the programme. Children are well-supported by a planned approach to transitions into and within the centre. They experience a curriculum where they are listened to and encouraged to become confident and successful learners.

Māori children are well supported to achieve success as Māori. Tikanga and te reo practices such as waiata and karakia are integrated into the programme. Māori culture and language is highly visible throughout the environment. Children are supported to build their knowledge and understanding of the uniqueness of the bi-cultural heritage of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Children up to the age of two benefit from nurturing interactions. The separate space for young children allows them to explore their environment in a safe, secure and calm way. The recently renovated environment enables teachers to provide a programme that fosters independence for infants and toddlers. Young children are supported to be increasingly confident and capable learners.

Centre leadership is effective. Leaders empower teachers to take responsibility and lead aspects of the centre operations. They have established a culture in which teachers are valued and celebrated for who they are and what they bring to the children’s learning. Clear expectations for curriculum delivery have been established and a robust appraisal process has been implemented to support building teacher capability. Knowledgeable leadership underpins the centres commitment to providing positive outcomes for children.

Self-review processes are well developed. Collaborative monthly reviews of the curriculum contribute to change and improvement. Well-developed self review supports teachers to reflect and respond to providing positive outcomes for children.

Senior advisors provide effective support for the centre manager and teachers. They regularly visit the centre to provide advice and guidance about curriculum delivery, health and safety and operational support. Provincial Childcare provides a detailed policy and procedure framework that guides centre operations. Comprehensive governance systems supports the centre to implement its philosophy.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree that further development is needed to:

  • refine and strengthen the existing programme planning to make it visible, sustainable and effective over time

  • strengthen the partnership with parents to support learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Acorn Kids 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 Acorn Kids will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

27 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

40 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 22 Boys 24

Ethnic composition



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

August 2017

Date of this report

27 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

October 2008

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.