A'oga Fa'a Samoa Incorporated - 09/11/2017

1 Evaluation of A'oga Fa'a Samoa Incorporated

How well placed is A'oga Fa'a Samoa Incorporated 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 Fa'a Samoa is a well-established total immersion Samoan early learning service. The aoga is located on the Richmond Road Primary School grounds and is licensed for 50 children, including up to 16 aged up to two years of age. All children attending are of Samoan heritage.

The aoga's philosophy promotes language immersion and nurtures the children's identity, language and culture. Key teachers stay with groups of children from when they are first enrolled to when they transition to school. The values of the 'Poutu Model' of alofa (love), tautua (service) and fa'aaloalo (respect) are the guiding principles for the aoga's vision for Samoan children and their families.

Well qualified teachers model the Samoan culture and language for children. They are involved in several professional learning and research opportunities that promote innovation and excellence in teaching and learning. Teachers have provided professional development to other early learning services including other aoga amata.

A centre manager works closely with a leader of teaching and learning to manage the aoga's strategic goals. They work together with a management committee to monitor centre priorities. Long-standing teachers are committed to the aoga's vision to deliver high quality outcomes for children.

ERO's 2013 report identified many high quality aspects of good performance and recommended that the aoga review its bicultural curriculum. The management committee and staff have made very good progress in addressing the recommendations from the 2013 ERO report.

The Review Findings

The aoga's philosophy is strongly evident in the programme provided for children. Skilled and capable teachers work cohesively to promote Gagana Samoa and Aganu'u Samoa and teachers provide a place of belonging for children, parents and aiga.

Children participate confidently and are empowered to make choices in the programme. They are socially competent, and relate well to each other and to adults in the aoga. Tuakana teina relationships help children to develop responsibilities and negotiate their play choices. Children know they are valued and express themselves freely with adults who support and enable their learning through play. They are empowered to be strong in their identity and lead their learning.

Teachers remain as primary caregivers for groups of children until they leave the aoga for school. Over this extended period of time they build in-depth knowledge of individual children and very trusting relationships with them, their parents and aiga.

An inviting environment offers children many opportunities to explore and discover as they play. The inclusive curriculum is based on children's interests and teachers' deep knowledge of Fa'a Samoa.

Teachers plan a programme based on children's individual or group interests. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, is highly evident in the programme and in the centre documentation. Authentic contexts for learning underpin all aspects of the curriculum, aoga culture and partnership with parents and whānau.

There is a strong commitment to providing a broad curriculum for children. Teachers provide many, varied learning opportunities for children, including literacy, numeracy, science, art, and music. Teacher's awareness of the bicultural nature of Aotearoa is skilfully woven throughout the curriculum, extending children's knowledge of te ao Māori.

Internal evaluation is well understood and used to make significant changes to many aspects of the aoga's operations and curriculum programme. Teachers demonstrate an understanding of the benefit of reviewing and inquiring into their practice. Professional learning conversations enrich teachers' effective practice.

Very good systems are in place to ensure policies and procedures are reviewed regularly. Staff and parents are all involved in the effective systems and processes that lead to positive outcomes for children. The aoga is influential in leading practice in the early learning sector through the teachers' involvement in research, conferences, and publications.

An experienced and skilled manager leads the teaching team, promoting teachers' systematic inquiry into their practice, which further develops their professional capability. The highly supportive management team who are elected parents, committed to promoting and encouraging emergent leadership. There is a strong focus on sustainability of initiatives that impact positively on children's wellbeing and learning at the aoga.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that the aoga should continue the in-depth research and internal evaluation that guides their high quality innovative practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of A'oga Fa'a Samoa Incorporated 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 Fa'a Samoa Incorporated will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

9 November 2017

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


Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 23

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

9 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

March 2010

Education Review

March 2007

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.