Big Steps Valley - 21/06/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

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

The centre is very well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


The centre opened in 2011 to provide education and care for up to 20 children from three to five years of age. It is located in a modified house in Tikipunga with a large outdoor area. The centre owners are experienced childhood centre managers. They have another centre in Whangarei.

The centre’s philosophy focuses teachers on developing children’s independence in a learning environment that recognises their cultural uniqueness. It promotes positive, supportive relationships and encourages learning though play.

All three teachers are qualified and two have worked together at the centre since it opened. The owner encourages a collaborative approach to managing and leading the centre.

Review Findings

Warm, caring, positive relationships are evident within the centre and between the centre staff and the whānau of the children who attend. Children are shown respect through the very affirming interactions that they have with adults. They respect each other and treat the environment and resources at the centre carefully.

Teaching is of high quality. Teachers engage children in conversations, using questions to promote their thinking, communicating and social skills. They encourage children to be independent and to follow their interests. Teachers facilitate children’s play, allowing them to make decisions and determine how they spend their time.

The programme allows children’s play to develop with few interruptions imposed by routines. High quality resources are well organised and accessible to children. The indoor and outdoor areas are spacious and children are able to move freely about the centre. There are many opportunities for children to develop skills and knowledge in literacy, mathematics, science and technology. Children are encouraged to be creative and to take appropriate risks in their learning.

Children have opportunities to explore te ao Māori by learning te reo and tikanga Māori and they enjoy Māori stories and experiences. Teachers are interested in increasing their knowledge in these areas.

Teachers work well in partnership with whānau. Family members feel welcome at the centre and often spend time at the centre. They are encouraged to share their knowledge of their children and their interests. Teachers organise events that include families.

Children with diverse needs are welcomed and they are well catered for and supported. They are accepted by the other children and their families. Teachers gain new knowledge as required to cater for diverse needs.

The centre is well managed. Although the centre is new, it has a very sound policy base that is regularly reviewed. Effective systems are in place to manage the day-to-day operations of the centre and the teachers work collaboratively to ensure that systems are followed. Decision making is also collaborative.

Key Next Steps

Teachers have identified three areas that they want to strengthen. These relate to:

  • planning, assessment and evaluation
  • performance management
  • strengthening self review.

Teachers plan a programme that is responsive to children’s interests. They are now considering how the assessment of learning recorded in learning stories can better document children’s on-going learning. It would also be useful to consider how parents’ contributions to these records be better recorded.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Big Steps Valley 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.Click here to enter text.

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

21 June 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Tikipunga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15

Girls 13

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

Not applicable


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

21 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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.