Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara - 19/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara

How well placed is Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

It is an urgent priority for Evolve to build staff stability, improve teachers' practice, and build capability in review and evaluation. ERO's evaluation identified increased support and monitoring from Evolve is required, to build quality curriculum and teacher practice to improve outcomes for children.

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


Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara (formally known as I Kids Kaiwharawhara) is in Wellington. It provides education and care for children from three months to school age.

Since the October 2015 ERO evaluation, an acting centre manager has been appointed. Daily operation of the service is the responsibility of the teaching team. There have significant changes to the teaching team since 2015. Most teachers are fully qualified and represent a range of ethnicities.

Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara is owned and operated by Evolve Education Group Ltd (EEG). EEG is a national organisation that owns a number of early learning services across New Zealand.

The previous ERO report identified areas requiring further improvement. These included:

  • a team approach focused on improving outcomes for children

  • the philosophy and indicators of quality practice

  • a responsive and challenging curriculum

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • review and internal evaluation

  • implementing a bicultural curriculum

  • consulting with Māori and Pacific families around success for their children.

The service developed a plan to address the key areas requiring improvement, in consultation with the Ministry of Education (MoE). Progress in addressing these has been slow.

The Review Findings

Teachers support and encourage children to make choices about their interests and involvement in their play. Diversity is acknowledged and celebrated. Children’s culture, language and identity are valued and enrich the centre.

Responsive caregiving supports infants’ need for secure attachment. These children experience a welcoming and unhurried learning environment. Teachers offer children a range of appropriate choices to support their learning and development.

The learning programme for older children requires enhancing, particularly in relation to:

  • providing opportunities for them to be creative and expressive and persist in their play over time

  • enabling them to have opportunities to make decisions, ask questions and problem solve

  • ensuring teachers have sufficient and current knowledge to guide and support learning.

Leaders and teachers continue to build their understanding of te ao Māori and how this is implemented in the centre. Aspects of kaupapa Māori are evident in the programme. Extending te reo me ngā tikanga Māori perspectives across the curriculum is a next step.

Teachers have made some progress with understanding what contributes to educational success for Māori and Pacific children. Leaders and teachers have made some good use of MoE resources to build their knowledge. Parent and whānau aspirations are used by teachers to help inform individual children's planning for these learners.

Effective assessment, planning and evaluation is at an early stage of development. Leaders acknowledge that the assessment and planning cycle requires strengthening. Teachers notice children's interests and strengths and use these to develop ideas for learning. A priority is for leaders and teachers to enhance the assessment and planning and evaluation framework to ensure it guides, scaffolds and provides clear expectations for staff. In addition, as part of improving implementation, the following should be a focus:

  • ensuring learning continues to be purposeful and authentic and provide opportunities to deepen and increase the complexity of children's learning

  • highlighting children's dispositional attributes as well as skills

  • evaluating the impact of the programme on children's learning.

A priority for improvement is to complete the philosophy review. This has recently been initiated with staff input. Parents and whānau have not yet been invited to contribute to this process. To help support curriculum improvements required, leaders and teachers should now identify the high quality teacher and centre practices that will support achievement of each of the philosophy statements. Developing a shared understanding and expectations for implementing a rich curriculum, and teachers' understanding and use of quality interactions to facilitate children's learning, is needed to improve the curriculum provided.

Internal evaluation is not yet well understood. Leaders have introduced a new framework for undertaking internal evaluation. This, once understood, should support teachers' capability and understanding to evaluate the impact of their practices on children’s learning. Leaders should strengthen their knowledge of strategic collaborative investigation and sense making, to assist staff to determine what the centre priorities are for taking action to improve practice.

A new appraisal system includes stronger use of evidence and clearer next steps for teachers’ development. These practices are likely to contribute to professional growth, decision-making and enhanced outcomes for children. Teachers have had access to a range of professional learning and development. However this has not been well considered or strategic.

Key Next Steps

ERO identified the following as urgent priorities:

  • complete the philosophy review

  • improve assessment, planning and evaluation practice to inform and enhance the programme

  • develop understanding and implementation of review and evaluation for improvement.


Evolve will develop an action plan that details how they plan to address these priorities. Progress against this plan will be monitored by ERO.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara 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.

In order to improve practice leaders and teachers need to focus on improving teachers' practice through rigorous implementation of the appraisal process and targeted professional learning and development.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Active Explorers Kaiwharawhara will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

19 February 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

82 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 32, Boys 40

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

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.