Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe - 05/09/2014

1 Evaluation of Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe

How well placed is Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Apple Tree Learning Centre Ballyboe is well placed to continue to build on good practices that promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe is one of three centres on Auckland’s North Shore owned and operated by the same licensee. The centre is purpose-built and provides full day care in a spacious, comfortable setting. The centre is licensed for 60 children with a maximum of 15 children up to two years of age. Children are grouped according to age. Each group is led by head teachers. The owner and a centre manager manage the day-to-day operation of the service.

The philosophy for the centre clearly states expectations for child-focused play in a responsive, respectful environment. The owner's vision is that the centre will be a home away from home for children. She also wants parents and families to feel a sense of belonging and partnership with the centre. The philosophy links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand’s partnership agreement. Teachers enact the expectations of the centre's philosophy in their practices with children.

The centre serves a culturally diverse community. The owner has been careful to employ teachers who understand children’s home cultures and are able to connect with parents and family members using home languages. The majority of teachers are fully qualified.

Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe has been open for 18 months and has firmly established itself as the centre of choice for those families who have enrolled their children. This is the first ERO review of the centre.

The Review Findings

Apple Tree Learning Centre Ballyboe provides good quality education and care for children. Families and children are welcomed into the centre with warmth and respectful friendliness. Teachers often greet children and families in their home language. As a consequence, all children settle quickly and are trusting and affectionate with teachers. Teachers spend time building sound partnerships with families and help them to feel comfortable with routines followed in the centre.

Teachers work together in friendly and collegial ways. They are committed to making experiences for children inclusive and interesting. The tone in the centre is calm and well-managed. Children are treated gently and positively and routines are flexible and unhurried. Children enjoy good friendships and play well together and alongside others. The older children respond positively to taking care of those younger than themselves.

Children are capable and competent learners. They make independent choices from a range of activities and high quality resources. Children move freely between the attractive indoor and outdoor areas during long periods of uninterrupted play. Children’s games and play are supported and encouraged by teachers. As children’s interests emerge and change through the day teachers change activities to reflect what they notice, providing variety and prompts for children to extend their learning.

Many children attending the centre have English as an additional language. To help children, teachers place a strong focus on oral literacy. They value and use children’s first languages, and te reo Māori, incidentally throughout the programme. They sing with children, read to them and talk to them about their activities. Experiences for infants and toddlers are inclusive and friendly. Teachers could now consider ways of encouraging the younger children to respond to them more often in conversations.

Children also have frequent opportunities to discover and explore early literacy, science and numeracy through everyday activities. Children learn literacy, numeracy and science concepts in meaningful contexts. For example, cooking is a regular and much enjoyed activity that supports children to learn about reading lists and measuring. To extend these good practices teachers could strengthen their use of strategies that promote children’s thinking, learning and understanding of the world.

Managers have worked diligently to understand the aspirations and expectations of families. As a result, teachers and the centre are held in high trust by families who respond enthusiastically to opportunities to contribute to programmes.

Teachers and managers use self review to continually improve the quality of learning programmes, and the systems and documentations that guide the operation of the centre. These processes are effective.

Management of the centre is effective and efficient. Teachers have opportunities to engage in professional development to build their knowledge and skills. The owner’s generous financial commitment helps to maintain and further develop equipment, resources and centre property.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the managers agree that the next key steps for the centre include teachers:

  • deepening and broadening review on teaching and learning practices
  • providing opportunities for older children to contribute to planning the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe 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 Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

5 September 2014

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


Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34

Girls 29

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Middle Eastern







South African











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

July 2014

Date of this report

5 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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.