Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten - 12/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten

How well placed is Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten 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.


This is the first ERO review of Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten. The centre opened in September 2016 and is licensed for up to thirty children, including up to ten infants and toddlers. It is open from 8am to 4pm five days a week. Children learn and play in a mixed-age setting.

The centre is owned by the Southern Star Waldorf Charitable Trust. A director and centre manager oversee the day-to-day management, and teaching and learning programmes.

The centre philosophy emphasises the importance of children learning in a calm and unhurried environment, experiencing the rhythm and routine of each day and of the seasons. It also emphasises holistic wellbeing, including positive rituals around preparing and eating healthy food. Teaching practice is influenced by the work of Rudolf Steiner and Emmi Pikler.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from warm, respectful relationships with each other and their teachers. Teachers know the children very well as individuals and as learners. They provide a very nurturing and supportive environment for infants and toddlers.

Teachers talk frequently with parents to build a deep understanding of each child and how to best support that child's learning and development. They use this knowledge to make meaningful links between centre and home learning, and experiences.

Children play and learn in a calm, unhurried environment. There are well-established routines and expectations which provide children with a strong sense of security, predictability and belonging. Teachers work with the rhythm of the day and the seasons, as contexts for learning.

The beliefs and philosophy that the centre is founded on are strongly evident in individual and group planning and in everyday activities and interactions. Children participate in purposeful work as part of learning for life. This includes gardening and producing food, preparing food, stacking wood for the winter, hanging out washing, etc. There is a strong emphasis on building children's oral language through conversation and activities, such as storytelling.

The centre has capable leaders who have effectively fostered a culture of reflection and improvement within the centre. This year, 2018, has been one of growth in the implementation and development of key systems and practices including:

  • systems to ensure the smooth running of the centre

  • appraisal of teachers

  • internal evaluation for improvement

  • refining and strengthening individual and group planning, assessment and evaluation.

Well-considered strategic priorities provide clear direction for the centre. Useful strategic and annual plans reflect these priorities and guide the centre's development.

Careful consideration with appointments of staff, and clarity around the underpinning philosophy of practice, have resulted in teachers having a shared understanding of and consistent approach to their fostering of children's learning and development.

Key Next Steps

The leaders acknowledge that after two years of operation they need to embed, consolidate and refine newly established systems and practices.

ERO also recommends that leaders and teachers:

  • regularly report progress against the strategic and annual goals to the board

  • strengthen and formalise the emergent review process

  • develop plans to strengthen the Māori dimension within the curriculum and show how Māori children will be supported to succeed as Māori

  • improve how they show explicitly, in individual and group plans, what the intended learning is and what teachers will do to support this

  • make the intended learning. and how teachers will support this, more explicit in individual and group planning

  • review and respond to how well inside resourcing for children challenges and extends their learning, particularly for older children.

It is timely for trustees of the board to develop a governance manual with job descriptions for key governance roles.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten 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 Aurora Tamariki Early Years Care and Kindergarten will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

12 December 2018

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

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 8 Boys: 13

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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 2018

Date of this report

12 December 2018

Most recent ERO reports

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.