Busy Minds Early Learning Centre - 17/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Busy Minds Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Busy Minds Early Learning Centre 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.


Busy Minds Early Learning Centre is a long-established service in Mairangi Bay. It is licensed for up to 30 children with a maximum of four under two years of age. Currently, all of the children enrolled are over two years of age.

The centre is owned and managed by an experienced, qualified early childhood teacher. Together with the head teacher, she leads and is part of a stable team of qualified teachers.

The centre's mission, values and vision for children are clearly expressed. The philosophy emphasises respectful relationships, a stimulating environment and child-centred practices. It promotes inclusion, partnerships with whānau, and responsiveness to diverse community needs and cultures. Programmes are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

ERO's 2014 report identified many positive, ongoing features of the centre. Next steps identified in 2014 focused on strengthening internal evaluation processes and outcomes. The owner and teachers have made good progress in this area.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, articulate and comfortable in the environment. The centre's spacious learning environments are inviting and well resourced, and promote children's exploration. Children choose from the activities that teachers provide and freely access resources to support their play.

Teachers' conversations with children foster thinking and language development. Children are well supported to follow and build on their ideas and interests. Teachers often adapt centre routines and daily programmes, and offer a balance between teacher-directed activities and child-led play. They could consider ways to provide more prolonged periods for children to become immersed in uninterrupted, self-directed and more complex play that is related to their own particular interests.

Maths and science concepts, creativity and aspects of literacy are included well as part of children's play. Teachers have established relationships with local schools and provide information for whānau to support them in preparing children to transition to school.

Teachers foster children's awareness of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Children join in waiata and karakia, and know the centre's pepeha. Teachers continue to improve their confidence and capability in using te reo Māori.

Teachers' commitment to inclusive practices are visible in the environment and promoted well. They identify specific strategies for supporting children's diverse needs. Children's interactions and cooperative engagement in play support those who speak English as an additional language. Programmes include cultural festivals and teachers using greetings in children's home languages.

The varied curriculum includes ideas that children and their parents bring from home. Teachers value regular communication with whānau. There is a very good sense of partnerships with parents to support children's learning and inform centre direction. Families' sense of belonging in the centre is evident.

Teachers record children's learning in displays and portfolios that are readily available for children and their whānau to revisit. Portfolios include parents' contributions, and learning stories show children's developing dispositions for learning. Teachers' reflections and observations of children's play inform their programme planning.

The owner has documented comprehensive strategic and annual plans to guide centre development. A very good framework for internal evaluation has been established and teachers continue to build their evaluation understanding and capability. There are good connections between teachers' evaluations and the centre's strategic plans. The use of more focused evaluative questions and more succinct analysis would help to refine internal evaluation across all aspects of centre operations.

Teacher mentoring, appraisal processes and opportunities for professional development are also contributing to ongoing improvement. A current in-depth review is helping teachers to embed their understanding and implementation of Te Whāriki 2017. This review will inform ongoing improvement in programmes for children.

Key Next Steps

The centre's strategic plans clearly identify actions to support ongoing development. Next steps include continuing to:

  • strengthen teachers' understanding and documentation of the progression of children's learning

  • increase the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori across the curriculum and extend culturally responsive practices

  • increase the rigour of internal evaluation by deepening inquiry into the effectiveness of centre practices and their impact on outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Busy Minds Early Learning 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.

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 Busy Minds Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

17 January 2018

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


Mairangi Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 4 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

South African


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

17 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

Education Review

June 2011

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.