AUT Centre for Refugee Education Early Childhood Centre - 17/04/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

AUT Centre for Refugee Education Early Childhood Centre is well placed to continue promoting positive outcomes for the children of refugee families.


The centre is part of the AUT Centre for Refugee Education (CRE) in Mangere. It is situated on property owned by the Ministry of Education. Practices for creating a value-centred educational environment for refugees are clearly expressed in CRE documentation and are expected to be threaded throughout the early childhood, primary, secondary and adult education facilities on site.

Families come from highly diverse, often challenging backgrounds. Each group lives on site for five to six weeks before resettling in communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. There is a strong focus on supporting transitions for children and their families into the centre and into life in their new communities. Children leave the early childhood centre to eat with their families at lunchtime.

A manager oversees centre operations and a CRE programme leader coordinates professional learning and quality assurance. Prior to a new head teacher being appointed in 2011, a longstanding teacher held this leadership role for about 18 months. These two teachers work with additional part-time and casual teaching staff as required, to provide good adult-to-child ratios for the varied enrolment numbers in each intake. Many of these additional staff also work with families in the wider CRE environment. Permanent teachers have very good opportunities for professional learning and development.

Review Findings

There is a strong sense of community in the centre, although staff and families come together for only a few weeks. Teachers focus on providing an emotionally and physically safe environment and promoting respect and mutual understanding. They foster trusting relationships and hope for the future. Practices that focus on the needs of refugees and children result in a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Teachers are family oriented and work to support and empower parents, who also learn as they spend time with their children in the early childhood centre. The principles of Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, and the centre’s values and philosophy, are highly evident in practice.

Teachers focus on settling children and developing their sense of wellbeing and belonging. They also provide good support for children to become capable communicators and to develop skills for positive social interaction. The centre provides good opportunities for children to learn about new social norms and expectations. The environment enables children to explore new experiences, equipment and physical challenges.

Teachers learn from families about their languages and cultural practices. Some teachers are multilingual and interpreters are frequently used to settle children and to communicate with them and their parents. Children’s identity, language and culture are valued and celebrated. Diverse cultures are visible and celebrated in both the environment and in individual records of children’s time at the centre. Parents often contribute to their children’s learning records.

Constant change is a feature of the centre. The permanent teachers work effectively to create a new teaching team and adapt approaches and programmes to suit each intake. The team is responsive to individual children’s and family needs, interests and preferences. Changes are introduced gradually.

The head teacher has introduced a number of positive changes, including:

  • improvements in the outdoor learning environment including edible gardens, better defined and resourced indoor play areas, and good provision of space and equipment for infants and toddlers
  • the building of a carved and covered entry gateway (waharoa), and increased acknowledgement of tangata whenua in the environment and in the use of te reo, waiata and karakia
  • increasing professional collegiality and the promotion of reflective teaching practice
  • a focus on good quality assessment, programme, self-review and administrative documentation.

Key Next Steps

The manager and teachers have identified directions for further development in the centre, including:

  • more coherent and robust self-review that is focused on continual improvement
  • better alignment between CRE values and strategic priorities, the early childhood centre’s strategic vision and planning, the annual plan and reports, and identified outcomes for children
  • using an external appraiser with expertise and experience in high quality early childhood education to appraise teachers’ performance and support their individual development plans
  • purposeful strategies for sustaining good practices, and for building capability and consistent understandings and practices amongst the group of part-time teachers.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of AUT Centre for Refugee Education Early Childhood Centre 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.

In order to comply with legal requirements, the CRE and centre manager and must:

  • develop a policy and risk analysis and management procedures for outings within the CRE grounds and for the CRE bus trip that occurs for staff and families in each intake [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS17].

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

17 April 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15

Girls 10

Ethnic composition









Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Exceeds minimum requirements


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

17 April 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

March 2010

February 2007

November 2004

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.