Active Explorers Hokitika - 30/10/2018

1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Hokitika

How well placed is Active Explorers Hokitika 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 Hokitika is part of the Evolve Education Group (EEG). It provides full-day education and care for up to 70 children, including 20 under two years. Children play and learn in two areas according to their age and readiness for the next area.

Since the 2016 ERO review, the service has been purchased by Evolve. The centre manager was appointed in 2017. Many of the staff members are long serving. The centre manager oversees the day-to-day running of the service and is supported by team leaders and other staff. Most of the teachers are qualified early childhood teachers or training to become early childhood teachers.

The Evolve Group area manager and curriculum leaders provide ongoing support and have oversight of the service.

Leaders, teachers and whānau have begun developing a guiding vision and philosophy for the service that reflects the Evolve 'Active Explorers' brand.

Recent improvements are resulting in good progress being made to address the recommendations in the 2016 ERO report. This includes improved internal evaluation, staff appraisal, and assessment and planning processes.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Evolve Education Group.

The Review Findings

Outcomes for children's learning and wellbeing are improving considerably. Recent improvements support the ways managers and teachers are:

  • making better use of sleep and kai routines to respond to children's wellbeing and individual needs

  • building a sense of identity and pride in local traditions and valuing family and community interests and cultures

  • responding to parents' and whānau' wishes for their children, in planning and in the programme

  • valuing Māori children's language and culture

  • knowing children well as learners and individuals.

ERO observed settled children who confidently made choices for their learning and worked cooperatively with others.

There are a number of initiatives, improved systems and practices that promote positive outcomes for all children. The Evolve policies and procedures state clearly the expectations for children's wellbeing and learning. These have provided leaders and staff with a useful framework for making improvements in all areas of centre operation.

The regular visits and support of Evolve managers and leaders are helping centre leaders to grow in confidence and capability to lead a culture of change, greater accountability and higher expectations.

The strategic plan, new assessment and planning, and internal-evaluation processes provide a useful framework for improvement and consistency in centre operations and practices.

The curriculum has a greater focus on what matters for children's learning and wellbeing. Parents and the community are more involved. Programmes more regularly include aspects of the West Coast culture, and the values and interests of children and families. Managers and teachers are more frequently including and extending the use of te reo and tikanga Māori. A culture of critical reflection and improvement is developing.

The EEG have developed a more coherent structure and strategic direction for the company. A strategic focus is to lift the quality of teaching and learning. Many new initiatives have been introduced to improve the effectiveness, and monitor the quality of the services within the company.

Key Next Steps for the EEG southern region are to ensure:

  • that the company vision, values, philosophy, goals and systems reflect and enact the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and are underpinned by te ao Māori perspectives

  • reporting and monitoring at all levels are evaluative and show how outcomes for all children have been improved, especially in relation to the organisation’s vision, philosophy and valued outcomes

  • ongoing monitoring of new initiatives and roles and responsibilities of personnel in positions of leadership.

Key Next Steps for Active Explorers Hokitika

ERO's evaluation has identified, and the service managers agree, that the next key steps are to:

  • complete the development of the centre's philosophy, vision and valued outcomes in consultation with teachers, parents, whānau and community

  • unpack, understand and use Te Whāriki 2017 (the early childhood curriculum) to define and implement a rich, local curriculum that is consistent with Te Whāriki, the Treaty of Waitangi, and the centre philosophy and values

  • continue to embed and strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation, internal evaluation, teacher appraisal and te ao Māori perspectives

  • continue to foster a positive team culture with high expectations for learning and teaching

  • ensure reporting at all levels is evaluative and focuses on how well the centre is improving outcomes for all children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

30 October 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 41

Girls: 24

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

30 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

November 2010

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.