A'oga Amata Preschool - 20/05/2015

1 Evaluation of A'oga Amata Preschool

How well placed is A'oga Amata Preschool 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.


A’oga Amata Preschool is a long established service located in South Invercargill. The service provides a bilingual setting with a strong emphasis on Gagana Samoa (Samoan language) and Aganu’u Samoa (Samoan culture). The service caters for children from birth to school age. Children from a range of cultural backgrounds can attend five days a week from 9:00am to 3:00pm. The centre owners provide a service that is family orientated and affordable. The centre employs qualified teachers and skilled Samoan teacher aides who support Samoan language and culture.

Children play and learn in an environment that acknowledges the connection between Samoan and New Zealand heritages. The spacious outdoor area promotes exploration, physical development and learning about the natural world. The centre owners have significantly improved the outdoor area for older children.

The manager and teachers have made good progress in addressing the recommendations in the March 2012 report. This progress includes developing strategic and annual plans, improving staff appraisal processes, and using self review to improve practice.

The Review Findings

Children and their families have a strong sense of belonging to this centre. They:

  • settle quickly on arrival
  • warmly greet and farewell one another
  • are very familiar with the routines and expectations for the day
  • confidently make choices about what they want to do
  • play well together.

The philosophy is to maintain and teach Samoan language and cultural values to all children and their families. This philosophy is clearly evident in the programme and practices. Children:

  • regularly hear, understand and respond to spoken Samoan
  • know the cultural expectations and protocols for routines such as food, sleep and respectful interactions with one another
  • experience a programme that is rich in Samoan stories, music and arts.

Adults are skilful in the way they work with children and each other. They value and acknowledge the diverse cultures. The non-Samoan teachers receive very good support as they learn Gagana Samoa and Samoan cultural values and practices. Managers and staff have developed, used and reviewed clear guidelines for teaching practice and centre operations.

Teachers and teacher aides:

  • work well together as a team
  • share ideas and support each other’s strengths
  • have conversations with children that support their learning
  • have close nurturing relationships with children.

There are a large number of children under two years of age. These young children are cared for in a small, separate area. They have close, nurturing relationships with their teachers who respond well to their needs. It is timely for teachers to review the indoor and outdoor learning environments to ensure that they are well resourced for infants and toddlers. Improvements in these areas would encourage children’s exploration and stimulate their thinking.

Planning and assessment records show that children enjoy a wide variety of learning experiences. These include early literacy and mathematics learning, and frequent outings in and beyond the local community. Teachers have developed a useful format for planning the programmes. Planning could be further improved by emphasising intended learning outcomes for children, and evaluating the learning that occurs.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers, staff and ERO agree that next steps could include:

  • continuing to develop self review practices
  • refining aspects of teachers’ planning and assessment

ERO also identified that further next steps could be to:

  • improve the under two physical environment

  • seek external support for the centre manager’s appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of A'oga Amata Preschool 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 A'oga Amata Preschool will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

20 May 2015

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

55 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 30

Girls 16

Ethnic composition




Cook Island









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

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012


Education Review

July 2008


Education Review

June 2006

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.