Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe - 06/10/2017

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

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


Apple Tree Childcare Centre Ballyboe, in Pinehill, Auckland, is licensed for up to 60 children including 15 up to the age of two years. The centre is spacious and purpose-built, with three learning areas for different age groups. There are two outdoor areas which are accessible from the indoor learning area.

This service is one of three North Shore centres owned by The Apple Tree Childcare Centres Ltd. The director/owner works across the three centres to support day-to-day operations. The owner is an experienced teacher and is supported by a dedicated centre manager.

The Ballyboe centre has eight registered teachers and four staff with other qualifications. Most of the staff have worked as a team since the centre opened. Teachers reflect the diverse community and use children’s home languages routinely throughout the day.

The Apple Tree philosophy of 'create a home away from home, providing warmth, trust, respect and aroha', guides centre practices. Teachers' education and care for children is guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The positive features of this centre that were acknowledged in ERO’s 2014 report continue to be evident. All suggestions for improvement have led to the review and refinement of centre practices.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the Apple Tree Childcare Centres Ltd organisation.

The Review Findings

Children and parents/whānau are warmly welcomed. The primary caregiver approach used across the centre contributes to a secure foundation for children’s development. Teachers' interactions with children are respectful, warm and responsive. The environment has a home-like and calm atmosphere, providing a sense of security and wellbeing for children.

Children are well supported by teachers who see children as capable and confident learners. Children show initiative and engagement in leading their own learning, uninterrupted for sustained periods. They are provided with a wide variety of resources in learning areas. It is timely to review all resources with a view to increasing natural and open-ended resources, to further promote children's creativity and exploration.

Children up to the age of two benefit from caring teachers who promote a settled and peaceful environment. Care routines are appropriately individualised. Younger children have easy access to a separate outside area for their own exploration and play.

Children transition within the centre as they are developmentally ready. These decisions involve conversations with families to ensure that children transition confidently.

Culturally responsive teaching practices are highly evident in the centre. Children’s languages and cultural identities are valued. Children have many opportunities to celebrate their own and each other’s cultures. They play together in inclusive groups, developing friendships through collaborative play. Teachers recognise Te Tiriti o Waitangi and use te reo Māori respectfully.

Learning programmes are based on children’s emerging interests. Teachers use a ‘notice, recognise and respond’ model. Most teachers use high quality questioning to encourage children's higher order thinking and to facilitate complex play.

Planned learning is very visible in centre displays and is reflected in practice. High quality portfolios provide good information on children’s learning experiences over time. Centre leaders encourage families’ involvement in the centre, providing opportunities for parents to be engaged in their children’s learning.

The centre is well led and effectively managed.Teachers work collaboratively, and enthusiastically commit to professional development to improve their practice and enhance outcomes for children. The director provides teachers with leadership, a management framework, support personnel and a programme of professional development. Managers continue to work on refining teacher appraisal processes. Professional development is also planned to support centre managers in their leadership and management roles.

Apple Tree systems for monitoring and promoting improvement in its three centres have been established. Strengthening alignment between the philosophy, and strategic and annual plans will further guide future direction. A variety of systems and processes contribute to the teaching team’s internal evaluation. It is now timely to include outcomes for children in the evaluation process.

Key Next Steps

The director/owner and centre manager agree that the key next step is to develop indicators against the centre's strategic plan to measure progress towards strategic goals over time.

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 four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

6 October 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


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 38 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Middle Eastern
South African
other European
other Asian


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

July 2017

Date of this report

6 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

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.