Bubbles New Plymouth Infant & Toddlers Centre - 21/11/2014

1. Evaluation of Bubbles New Plymouth Infants & Toddlers Centre

How well placed is Bubbles New Plymouth Infants & Toddlers Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Bubbles New Plymouth Infants and Toddlers 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 New Plymouth Infants and Toddlers is a privately owned full day education and care service in central New Plymouth. It is one of three centres on the same city site that come under the Bubbles umbrella.

Centre owners are responsible for governance and management. 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 and most are new to their roles since ERO's 2011 review.

The centre philosophy ‘he taonga te whanaungatanga,’ we treasure the relationships we share with each other, underpins practice.

Recent outdoor developments have enhanced infants’ and toddlers’ learning.

ERO's 2011 report identified a number of areas for development and review. Some progress has been made to address these concerns. Teachers have accessed professional learning and development to improve assessment, planning and evaluation. However, more work is required to improve management and teaching.

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

The Review Findings

Infants and toddlers enthusiastically participate in a mainly child-initiated curriculum. They make choices and access suitable age-appropriate resources. The environment is thoughtfully organised to promote them become independent discoverers and adventurers. A focus on natural movement and developmental awareness is highly evident.

Responsive caregiving supports infants’ and toddlers’ sense of belonging. Teachers frequently engage in one-on-one interactions with babies and toddlers, following their lead. Adults respect young children’s rights to be informed and consulted about decisions that affect them.

Some teachers are more skilled than others at responding to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues and promoting language development. Leaders and staff should investigate ways to embed this practice consistently through developing a shared understanding of what high quality interactions look like.

Planning is responsive to the interests of infants and toddlers. This process been led by the PM, who recognises planning requires strengthening. ERO agrees that this should occur with an increasing emphasis on:

  • capturing the complexity of children’s learning
  • teaching strategies and evaluation of their contribution to improved outcomes for children.

Assessment in the form of learning stories and observations of children’s milestones are contained in attractively presented portfolios and displayed on centre walls. Assessment requires development for it to be used in planning to extend individual children's learning.

Teachers are developing their integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Children are becoming aware of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. A next step is for staff to make use of Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success and Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Māori Learners to be more responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity.

Self-review practices are in the early stages of development. The programme manager recognises that these require strengthening to know the impact of teaching on children's learning.

Governance and centre processes to support and build teaching capability need to be improved. A priority is to fully address the areas for development and review identified in ERO's 2011 report. 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 improve the overall 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

The centre has yet to fully address all areas for development identified in the 2011 ERO report. 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 onoutcomes for children
  • assessment and programme planning, including how this information is used to plan 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 leadership.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bubbles New Plymouth Infants & Toddlers 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to relating to governance and management and the provision of an effective early childhood education 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 New Plymouth Infants & Toddlers Centre 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

25 children aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 17, Boys 16

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


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2



Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

21 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review

December 2011


Education Review

May 2008

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.