Busy Bees - 30/04/2020

1 Evaluation of Busy Bees

How well placed is Busy Bees to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Busy Bees is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Busy Bees is a privately owned centre located in Nelson. Staff provide education and care for infants, toddlers and children up to school age in a mixed-age setting. The centre is licensed for 27 children, including 12 children up to the age of two years.

New owners took over the running of the centre in July 2018. They have made changes to systems and improved the interior of the building and the exterior play area.

One of the owners is the licensee and manager of the centre. A head teacher is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the centre, and together they form the leadership team. Four of the five fulltime staff are qualified, registered teachers. In 2019, all staff participated in professional learning and development (PLD) focused on improving the quality of children's learning stories. Individual teachers have also taken part in other PLD opportunities.

The centre's philosophy is focused on:

  • treating each child with love and respect so that they can develop and shine to their full potential

  • staff valuing trusting, responsive, reciprocal relationships with children and their families

  • providing a natural and stimulating environment which offers children space and time to explore their interests

  • respecting and valuing all cultures.

The June 2016 ERO report identified that the philosophy, assessment, planning and evaluation, and responses to parents' aspirations should be further developed to better link these to children's learning. Good progress has been made.

The Review Findings

A calm, settled environment is clearly evident. Children are highly engaged in play and interact positively with each other. They have time and space to follow their own interests, supported by their teachers.

Highly responsive and respectful interactions support children to lead their own learning. In this mixed-age centre, teachers are inclusive of all ages in all activities. Teachers genuinely listen to and support children to develop their self-management skills. Conversations link to prior activities and enable revisiting of learning.

High-quality teaching and learning practices promote positive outcomes for all children. Group planning appropriately supports centre themes and is reviewed regularly to ensure it is relevant. Profile books document children's individual learning which is informed by their interests and parent aspirations. Learning stories show each child's progress over time and identify their next learning steps. The quality of these stories is consistent for all children, reflecting the centre-wide professional learning over the last two years.

Children with additional needs are well supported. External expertise is accessed when needed. The child's key teacher and a well-documented action plan promote positive outcomes.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are clearly evident across the centre. All teachers use kupu Māori in regular conversations, story telling, karakia and waiata. The environment reflects te ao Māori and learning stories include this emphasis. Teachers and children learn from an external tutor who comes to the centre and teaches kapa haka.

Transitions into the centre are well supported and personalised for the individual children and their family. Children's sense of belonging is nurtured during their time at the centre and when moving to school.

Children up to two years are well supported. Consistent care giving enables teachers to respond sensitively to each child's changing needs and preferences. Teachers respect children's rights to be consulted and informed about decisions that affect them. A calm, slow pace is maintained so that younger children have space and time to lead their learning.

Leaders have a strong commitment to teaching and learning that contributes to success for all children. They are focused on providing clear expectations for teacher practice and give useful feedback and well-considered praise through the appropriate appraisal process.

The centre has a clear, aligned strategic plan that clearly identifies the centre's priorities and associated actions towards achieving these.

While leaders and teachers are highly reflective and review their day-to-day practices, strengthening internal evaluation with an emphasis on outcomes for children, is a next step.

Key Next Steps

The next key step for improving outcomes for children is for leaders and teachers to strengthen evidence-based internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Busy Bees 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

30 April 2020

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Female 22, Male 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

30 April 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

March 2013

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.