Bubbles Bell Block Preschool - 21/11/2014

Evaluation of Bubbles Bell Block Preschool

How well placed is Bubbles Bell Block Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Bubbles Bell Block Preschool requires further development of teaching practices, leadership and management, and systems to be well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Bubbles Bell Block Preschool is a newly established, privately owned full day education and care service, located in suburban New Plymouth. It is one of three centres, on the same site that come under the Bubbles umbrella. The service caters for 60 children aged from three years and six months to school age, 13 of who are Māori.

Centre owners are responsible for governance and management of the centre. A programme manager (PM) is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the preschool with support from an operations manager. Teachers are qualified in early childhood education. They have developed their philosophy collaboratively with parents and the community. It states: ‘respect for ourselves, for our community and our environment.’

The building is purpose built, spacious and designed to cater easily with the large number of children attending. The grounds are being developed with consideration for children’s learning needs. Children have many opportunities to develop their physical and coordination skills.

This review was part of a cluster of seven reviews in the Bubbles organisation.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a curriculum that is both child and adult-initiated. Planning is informed by children’s observed interests. Assessment, in the form of observations of children’s involvement in the programme and some narratives about learning, are contained in portfolios. These are available to children who eagerly use them to revisit and share their learning with others.

Assessment illustrates continuity of children’s learning. Individual and group learning and creativity are valued and displayed throughout the environment. The PM acknowledges that planning, assessment and evaluation practices require further development. ERO agrees with this identified next step to improve the curriculum.

Children’s whakapapa is celebrated on centre walls. Teachers integrate te reo me ngā tikanga Māori throughout the curriculum. Children are becoming aware of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Teachers have recently participated in professional learning and development to enhance their bicultural practice. A next step is for staff to make use of Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Māori Learners. Adults are committed to further developing their understanding of ways of teaching that reflect and respond to Māori learners.

Children with diverse needs are supported and included. Teachers are welcoming to all children and their parents and whānau. Children show confidence and high levels of independence. They play cooperatively with peers.

Teachers have positive, sensitive and responsive relationships with children. Children have opportunities to be teachers as well as learners. Teachers frequently participate in children’s play. Sustained, shared teaching episodes extend children’s thinking and value their contribution to the learning experience. ERO recommends that leaders and teachers review the formal "Topclass" programme for four-year-olds and how it aligns to current best practice and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Self review continues to be an area for development. The owners, managers and teachers need to distinguish between reviewing for accountability and evaluating for improvement. Developing robust ways of knowing the impact of teaching practices and policies on children’s learning and development should lead to improved outcomes for children.

The PM agrees with ERO that processes to support and build teaching capability need to be strengthened. Appraisal needs to align with the Registered Teacher Criteria. Opportunities for centre leaders to inquire into and improve their leadership are an important next step to strengthen outcomes for children and the quality of teaching.

The Bubbles 2014-to-2015 management plan requires strengthening. The focus of the plan is on centre operations and a broad teaching and learning objective for the seven centres. Consideration should be given to developing a plan collaboratively with teachers and parents that identifies priorities and associated goals to strengthen individual centre operations. This should include governors and managers developing a better understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities.

Key Next Steps

Owners, managers and teachers should improve and develop their understanding and practices in:

  • self review to more clearly show the impact of teachers’ practices and learning on outcomes for children

  • assessment and programme planning, including how this information is used to plan for and extend individual children's learning

  • annual and strategic planning to better inform centre priorities for teaching and learning

  • developing a shared understanding of high quality interactions that build on and extend children’s language and thinking

  • strengthening appraisal processes, including a focus on appropriate leadership goals

  • ensuring that teaching practice always reflects current early childhood best practice and the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bubbles Bell Block Preschool 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management and the provision of an effective early childhood curriculum for children. To meet requirements the service needs to ensure that:

  • the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices, in particular review practices, appraisal, strategic and annual planning. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, GMA7]

  • the practices of adults providing education and care demonstrate an understanding of children’s development and knowledge of relevant theories and practice in early childhood education. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Service 2008, C4]

To improve current practice, centre management should make sure that all non-registered personnel, including managers and volunteers, are police vetted every three years.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Bubbles Bell Block Preschool will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

21 November 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


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 27

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

21 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

First ERO report


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.