At a Home Hawke's Bay - 10/04/2015

1 Evaluation of At a Home Hawke's Bay

How well placed is At a Home Hawke's Bay 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.


At a Home is a recently-licensed home based education and care network operating across Hawke’s Bay. The roll is 71 children and 12 are Māori.

Two directors oversee service operations. Educators work in their own homes to provide education and care for up to four children at any one time. One director is a qualified early childhood teacher who visits homes and supports educator practice. This director has extensive experience in home based education and care. The other director has a sound business background.

The Review Findings

The service is well placed to promote positive and sustainable developments in education and care of children.

The approach to curriculum development promotes positive outcomes for children. There is a focus on developing confidence and resilience based on the philosophy of “No Cotton Wool Kids”. Weekly nature and active movement programmes support children to take managed risks within clear boundaries and encourage exploration of natural environments.

Parents and whānau share their knowledge of their children’s strengths, interests and needs. These ideas are valued and acknowledged by the service. Families’ perspectives are used to enhance connections and provide continuity for children in their care and education. Transitions into, within and beyond the service are considered and well managed. Care for infants and toddlers are carefully monitored.

The visiting teacher keeps up-to-date with current research. She uses this to support educators to design appropriate programmes to support children’s learning and development. Professional development focuses on promoting positive, trusting, reciprocal relationships between educators and the children in their care. The service has a current focus on promoting literacy experiences for three and four year old children.

On-line learning stories are easily accessed by families and children and are fostering partnerships for learning. Educators frequently up-date these stories that are based on observations of children’s learning and development. Children have individual goals and educators’ reflections illustrate that they make progress over time. The visiting teacher monitors assessment across the network and uses feedback to educators as part of the coaching and mentoring process.

Partnerships with external agencies have been established to support children with diverse needs. Individual children’s needs are identified and well met through a planned approach.

Positive steps have been taken to develop educators’ approach to bicultural practice. The language and identity of children is promoted through a considered approach to building the use of home languages in learning stories. The visiting teacher and educators acknowledge the input from families and whānau in strengthening this aspect of the curriculum.

The service’s philosophy, vision and mission are strongly influenced by the aspirations parents, families and whānau have for their children. These have recently been revised to better reflect the curriculum in action and the views of all involved in the service. These also include reference to current research about best practices in the care and education of children.

A useful policy and procedural framework provides clear expectations and guidance for educators’ and visiting teacher practice. The induction of new educators is well considered and careful attention is paid to how the vision and mission can be enacted safely. New educators are well supported through ongoing professional development linked to their individual needs, the needs of children in their care and service priorities. Management documents consistently show how performance management successfully contributes to professional learning for educators and improved teaching and assessment practice. Some educators work towards qualifications in early childhood education.

Those responsible for governing and managing the service have a sound understanding and capability to carry out their roles and responsibilities. Directors work collaboratively together and with others to continually develop their provision of education and care for children. In-depth self review is used as a framework for development. The process includes the use of a range of stakeholder ideas and views and a comprehensive research component.

Key Next Steps

The service has undergone rapid roll growth since its establishment in July 2013. Directors are currently deciding how to manage future growth through recruitment of additional personnel. The focus on maintaining high quality support for educators, parents and children is a key part of their consideration.

The current strategic plan sets business direction for the service. It is yet to include goals for achieving the new vision and mission. Aligning these key documents will help directors to articulate clearly the teaching practices and outcomes for children that they expect to achieve if the vision and mission are fully enacted. This, in turn, should support more focused evaluative inquiry into the effectiveness of service provision.

The directors acknowledge Māori as tangata whenua and are committed to treaty-based partnerships. As part of unpacking the new vision and mission, it is timely to consider how the commitment to supporting children’s language, identity and culture could be strengthened within the curriculum.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of At a Home Hawke's Bay 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 At a Home Hawke's Bay will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 April 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

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded

Standard Funded

Gender composition

Girls 36

Boys 35

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Reported ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

10 April 2015

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.