Active Explorers Henderson - 18/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Henderson

How well placed is Active Explorers Henderson 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.


Active Explorers Henderson provides all-day education and care for up to 126 children, including 35 under two years of age. Children enrolled come from mainly Pākehā and Chinese backgrounds, with smaller numbers of Māori and Indian children. They are grouped in six age-related rooms.

The centre’s philosophy recognises the importance of children learning through play in a respectful, caring and inclusive environment. The centre states its aim is to create "a safe place for children to express themselves, where they feel loved and they belong".

This centre is part of the Evolve Education Group, operating under the brand of Active Explorers. Evolve provides a policy and management framework, and a range of support systems to meet the needs of each service. The centre manager is delegated to oversee centre operations. Occasional cluster meetings with other Evolve centres provide a support network for centre leaders.

The centre manager leads a culturally diverse teaching team. Teachers are responsive to professional development, and have created a culture where children are valued, celebrated and affirmed. The centre has 12 registered teachers and four untrained staff.

ERO last reviewed the centre in 2014 under the name Leaps and Bounds. Since then a new centre manager and a head teacher have been appointed. Over this time, good work has been done to build teacher confidence in the use of te reo Māori, and documenting self review processes. Further work is required to provide sufficient resources and develop the outside learning area for younger children.

The Review Findings

Teachers greet children warmly on arrival into the centre, and children settle well in their activities. Respectful and responsive relationships underpin a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing for children. Children transition well within the centre as they are developmentally ready.

Children are happy and engaged in their learning. They play cooperatively and have easy access to the outside learning areas beside their rooms. These areas provide opportunities to explore and be creative. It is timely to consider further ways to promote science and mathematics.

Teachers work alongside children. Older children are encouraged and supported to lead their own learning, based on their interests. There are good examples of teachers' questioning skills extending children’s thinking. The centre manager agrees that this good teaching practice needs to be consistent across the centre.

Children up to the age of two benefit from caring teachers who promote a calm and peaceful environment. Education and care routines are appropriately individualised. Younger children have easy access to a separate outside area for their own exploration and play. There is a need to ensure all younger children have access to sufficient resources outside to create their own play.

Children have many opportunities to celebrate their own and each other’s cultures. Culturally responsive teaching practices are highly evident in the centre and children’s languages and cultural identities are valued.

Teachers' commitment to the ongoing development of bicultural learning approaches is building children's understanding of te ao Māori. The bicultural nature of Aotearoa, New Zealand is reflected in the environment.

Teachers' planning is based on children's interests. Children's portfolios contain both group and individual learning stories. Storypark, an online tool, allows teachers to link children's learning visibly to the curriculum. It provides an opportunity for parents to extend and connect their child's home and centre interests. Teachers have identified the need to provide hard copy portfolios so that children can revisit special moments in their learning independently.

Children's inside learning areas are well resourced. While teachers display programme information about children’s learning, they could now review their displays to see if children have easy access to their learning and related activities.

The centre manager values a collaborative working approach, and promotes leadership opportunities for teachers and leaders. Staff meet regularly to plan activities and resources that promote a shared understanding of children's interests. Teachers could now deepen their evaluative thinking as they review their teaching and the learning outcomes for children.

The Evolve Education Group is in the beginning phase of developing processes and new branding of Leaps and Bounds centres under Active Explorers. The organisation is currently developing its curriculum framework in order to align its overarching philosophy for its Active Explorers centres. A strategic plan is under development that will then need to be aligned with the centre's strategic plans.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for ongoing improvement include:

  • further reviewing and refining room philosophies to more closely align to the philosophies of the centre and the new Evolve Active Explorers

  • building teacher capability in questioning techniques that extend children's thinking

  • strengthening the use of indicators against the centre's own strategic plan, to measure the quality of progress over time.

To ensure continued centre improvement, Evolve managers should place a stronger focus on ensuring high quality support for the centre manager.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Henderson 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 Active Explorers Henderson will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

18 January 2018

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


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

126 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

other Pacific peoples
other European


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

18 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Previous Education Review as Leaps and Bounds Henderson

December 2014

Previous Education Review as Leapfrogs Early Childhood Centre 1

November 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.