Bright Sparks Childcare Airport - 18/08/2014

1 Evaluation of Bright Sparks Childcare Airport

How well placed is Bright Sparks Childcare Airport 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.


Bright Sparks Childcare Airport provides full day care and education for up to 134 children from birth to school age. When ERO last visited the service in 2011 it operated under three licences, but these were merged to form one centre in October 2011. Five separate rooms and outdoor spaces have been retained for infants, two toddler groups, three year olds and preschool children. Staff are assigned to each of these groups. Each area of the centre has a high ratio of registered teachers and staff in training.

The centre is one of two owned by the service provider. She delegates responsibility for daily administration to a centre manager and visits regularly to provide ongoing support for all staff. The centre manager is also supported by four head teachers. They formally report to her each month as part of diligent monitoring processes. The cultural diversity of families and staff is a valued feature of the centre.

Previous ERO reviews of the service have noted the caring and respectful relationships between staff, children and families including Māori whānau. Programmes have featured Christian values, the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and aspects of Reggio Emilia philosophy. These positive elements, which reflect the centre philosophy, continue to be evident.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled in the centre. They benefit from positive relationships with teachers and practices that acknowledge their family cultures and languages. Children are busy, often confidently exploring equipment, and responsive to the close support of teachers. Many children engage well in meaningful conversations and work cooperatively to share resources and play together in small groups. Children's learning is enriched with special programmes that include Active Movement, swimming and excursions into the community. In this environment children show a strong sense of belonging.

Teachers consistently support children's play. They engage children with conversations about their interests and ask questions that prompt ideas for play. Within each room teachers know children very well and encourage individual interests. Teachers also use this knowledge to ensure children make smooth transitions between rooms. Teachers promote literacy and integrate early numeracy and science experiences. Children's diversity is celebrated and teachers have established respectful practices that incorporate aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori. Adults are very positive in their management of children. They could now review the organisation of routines to reduce waiting times and foster more opportunities for children to be independent.

Teachers plan programmes that reflect children's emerging interests. They incorporate Christian teachings unobtrusively and embrace the principles of Te Whāriki. Teachers have developed some aspects of Reggio Emilia approaches in the environment and in activities. They recognise the need to further develop their knowledge in this area. Teachers working with older children could more effectively use Reggio philosophy to guide the content and delivery of the ‘Fast Fours’ transition to school programme. Teachers’ efforts to increase their focus on individual learning in children’s portfolios are a positive step towards more meaningful assessment practices.

Parents who were interviewed by ERO enthusiastically support the centre. They are very positive about their relationships with teachers. In particular, they appreciated the learning and services provided for children and the centre’s cultural recognition, and communication strategies. They value the many ways in which they receive information about the programme and children's learning. Parents like the openness of the manager and staff and the range of opportunities for them to be consulted and get involved in their child’s learning and centre activities.

The centre is well managed. The owner and centre manager work collaboratively to implement long term strategic goals and ongoing professional development programmes for staff. The centre manager is sharing leadership responsibilities with head teachers. She is also developing a mentoring programme to foster the professional growth of all teachers. The whole centre is committed to ongoing improvement. This is reflected in teachers’ focus on enhancing programme planning and self review. The planned redevelopment of the outdoor environment is a good example of the centre’s consultative review processes that result in improved outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for centre development should include:

  • ongoing development of self review processes with a particular focus on the effectiveness of the framework for spontaneous reviews
  • a review of the mentoring and appraisal processes to refine how they incorporate professional goals, the registered teacher criteria and the competencies of Tātaiako (the Ministry of Education’s guidelines for teachers of Māori learners).
  • continuing development of teachers knowledge and practise of Reggio Emilia philosophy
  • teachers reflecting on their understanding of children as ‘competent, confident and capable learners’ and the implications of this for teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bright Sparks Childcare Airport 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 Bright Sparks Childcare Airport will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

18 August 2014

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


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

134 children, including up to 40 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 56

Girls 46

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Cook Island Māori













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 2014

Date of this report

18 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2011


Education Review

June 2008


Education Review

April 2006

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.