Agape Aoga Amata - 07/11/2016

1 Evaluation of Agape Aoga Amata

How well placed is Agape Aoga Amata 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.


Agape Aoga Amata operates in the grounds of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) in Mangere. It offers full day education and care for up to 30 children, including 10 children under two years of age. Most of the children are Samoan. The aoga philosophy honours the church's values and beliefs and promotes the Samoan language and culture (gagana and aganu'u Samoa).

Agape Aoga Amata is governed by the Alofa o'le Atua Trust. Trustees include church members, staff and parents. The centre manager and newly appointed supervisor work closely together on the daily operations of the centre. A manager from a sister centre has supported the centre manager. Four of the seven staff members are fully registered teachers.

ERO's 2013 review report noted the children's strong sense of belonging and wellbeing and the continuing high levels of gagana Samoa used by children and adults. It also noted strong links with the church and community. ERO recommended further development in provision for infants and toddlers, and in planning for more complex learning. ERO noted the need for good quality professional development and a robust self-review process to strengthen all areas of aoga operations.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is evident throughout the centre. There is a strong focus on developing the Samoan language and culture and helping children to maintain their sense of identity, wellbeing and belonging. Children are able to take responsibility for themselves and know routines well. Children have good opportunities to explore the environment and follow their interests.

Staff have created a friendly, nurturing environment where children and their families are welcomed. Relationships between teachers, children and families are genuine, positive and respectful, contributing to their sense of belonging. Teachers maintain ongoing connections with the church and local community that support children's smooth transition to school.

Children benefit from a caring, nurturing environment and positive relationships with their peers and adults. Their parents are being encouraged to be more involved with their learning. There is a wide range of resources that invite children to explore. The learning programme helps children to quickly become familiar with the setting and helps them to build their confidence. A supportive, caring social atmosphere enables children to enjoy focused engagement in the activities that they choose.

Teachers are learning to collaborate more to ensure that the programme acknowledges children's prior experiences and backgrounds, interests and skills. The skilled supervisor has led positive changes in curriculum planning, assessment and evaluation. Teachers have developed a responsive curriculum that focuses on children's interests and skills and has good links with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Planning shows how teachers have used parents' aspirations. There is a consistent focus on building children's oral language development and their appreciation of languages. Children hear and learn to use both gagana Samoa and basic te reo Māori.

External professional development supports teachers to keep up to date with current theory and practice. Internal professional development is helping them to share and model good practice amongst themselves. A more formalised process of internal review would help them to continue developing reflective practices that will enable them to collectively identify what is working well and where they could improve.

Trustees and staff demonstrate a commitment to providing high quality education and care for children sustaining positive relationships with parents, the church and wider community is an ongoing focus. The manager meets regularly with trustees to monitor progress and leadership capability within the centre.

The board of trustees has recently added trustees with skills and experience that contribute to the vision and scope of early childhood education within a Samoan Christian context. They have documented board roles and responsibilities and use these guides to inform their work. Regular meetings help them to know about all aspects of aoga operations and to make decisions to support children and teachers. The board should now consider ways to review how well children benefit from the decisions they make.

Key Next Steps

To support ongoing development, trustees and staff should now:

  • review and refine strategic and annual plans to align with the aoga philosophy and budget, and increase parent partnerships in the programme to promote positive outcomes for children

  • develop and implement a more formal, robust process of internal evaluation across all aspects of aoga operations and align strategic direction with evaluation findings

  • strengthen teacher appraisal processes, so they are more meaningful and clearly aligned with legal requirements and high quality practices

  • consider developing a formal leadership programme that encourages staff leadership, includes a process for succession planning and strategies to help sustain good practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Agape Aoga Amata 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 Agape Aoga Amata will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

7 November 2016

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


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 11 Boys 14

Ethnic composition









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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

7 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2013

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.