Bubbles New Plymouth Preschool - 21/11/2014

1. Evaluation of Bubbles New Plymouth Preschool

How well placed is Bubbles New Plymouth Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Bubbles New Plymouth 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 New Plymouth Preschool is a privately owned full day education and care service, located in central New Plymouth. It is one of three centres on the same city site that come under the Bubbles umbrella. The service caters for 50 children aged from three years and six months to school age.

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.

The newly developed centre philosophy embraces ideas of respect, collaboration, empowerment and inclusivity. This reflects the beliefs and values of the current teaching team.

The learning environment has been significantly refurbished to create more space to challenge and enhance children’s 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 (PLD) to improve assessment, planning, evaluation and self review. However, more work is required to improve centre management, including a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of governors and managers.

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

The Review Findings

Individual creativity is well supported. There is a strong focus on providing resources to develop children’s print awareness, alphabet knowledge, numeracy and mathematical concepts. Teachers provide an inclusive environment for children with identified special needs.

Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during and after transitions into and within the service. Teachers intend to review their support for children’s transition to school and initiate relationships with local school leaders.

The service is welcoming to children, parents and whānau. This has been a focus of planned self review. Teachers engage in conversations with children. Some teachers are more skilled than others at 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.

Children spend most of their time participating in a curriculum designed to follow their strengths, interests and dispositions. Children are independent learners who play together cooperatively within a purposeful atmosphere. Routines are insufficiently flexible to children’s needs. Teachers should review these to ensure they are responsive and support children’s engagement in learning. ERO recommends that leaders and teachers review the formal programme for four-year-olds, "Topclass", and how it aligns to current best practice and Te Whāriki, the early childhood 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 intend to participate in PLD to enhance their bicultural practice. A next step is to make use of Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Māori Learners for staff to be more responsive to Māori children’s culture, language and identity.

Planning is responsive to children’s observed interests, including a description of outcomes for children. The PM has led her team in understanding this process. She recognises that aspects of planning require strengthening.

Assessments, in the form of learning stories and other observations, are contained in portfolios and displayed on centre walls. Children demonstrate ownership and pride in these records. Leaders and teachers recognise assessment needs to better inform teaching and learning for individual children.

Governance and management processes to support and build teaching capability need to be improved. A priority is to fully address the areas for review and development 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.

The PM leads a potentially useful centre self-review process. She recognises that it requires further 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 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 on children’s outcomes.

  • 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 New Plymouth 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 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 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 learning and development, and knowledge of relevant theories and practice in early childhood education. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 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 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

50 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 38, Boys 22

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


Better than minimum requirements

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.