Childs Play Pre-School Ltd - 29/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Childs Play Pre-School Ltd

How well placed is Childs Play Pre-School Ltd 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.


Childs Play Pre-School Ltd is a purpose-built early childhood centre in Ashburton. Initially privately owned, it was purchased by the Evolve group in November 2016. The centre provides full-day education and care for up to 71 children from three months old to school age. There are separate areas for infants, toddlers and preschool children.

The centre's vision and philosophy are currently under review. One aspect of its vision is for teachers and managers to continuously seek to improve practices in order to provide a consistently high-quality service in all areas of the centre. This focus on continuous improvement was evident to ERO.

There is one centre manager, supported by three team leaders. Most of the staff are fully qualified teachers.

While there has been good progress since the last review, the quality of assessment has been greatly improved. However, some of the next steps in the September 2013 report remain. These include the need to continue to develop strategic planning and internal evaluation practices.

The Review Findings

Children are empowered to take increasing responsibility for their own wellbeing and learning. There is a strong focus on communication and exploration, and deliberate development of a range of social skills, such as widening social interactions and sharing interests with others.

In the under-two room, responsive and consistent caregiving supports infants' need for strong and secure attachments. Teachers provide a calm, nurturing environment where children explore and move freely between the inside and outside areas.

Teachers are intentional in the way they recognise and respond to opportunities to engage in, and extend children's learning. They observe individual children and consult with parents to identify a specific learning outcome (LO) for each child. They then identify an appropriate range of teaching strategies to help the child achieve the LO, and document the ways the child has demonstrated that achievement.

Children have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of age-appropriate activities, within the rooms and in the large shared outdoor area. These include many areas that support the development of early literacy skills. In the extension room, the older children confidently engage with each other in activities that challenge them to further develop their skills as learners.

Teachers have continued to develop their level of confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori. The programme includes Māori concepts, knowledge, te reo Māori, customs and beliefs. Teachers have access to many prompts to support them in using te reo Māori phrases with the children.

Teachers share and demonstrate a philosophy and commitment to inclusive education. They help all children and families to celebrate their differences through involving children's wider whānau in activities to celebrate their cultures.

Transitions into the centre, between rooms and on to school are carefully planned and monitored. A detailed review of transition to school was undertaken in 2016. This identified, and ERO confirmed, the high level of social, independence and self-help skills that are evident among the older children. It also identified that communication with parents and schools could be improved. Steps have been put in place to address this issue.

There is a strong culture of reflection and a focus on continuous improvement. For example, the centre manager has set clear expectations of staff for children's portfolios. She regularly provides feedback to the teachers on how well these expectations are being met. The teachers in each room undertake detailed reviews of aspects of the programme and teaching practice. In some instances, these reviews could include a more formal evaluation once changes have been implemented.

The centre manager and team leaders are likely to benefit from the opportunities that the Evolve group will make available to them to develop as leaders in the centre. This, together with support from Evolve managers, will assist them as they move towards a more centre-wide approach to strategic planning.

Key Next Steps

It is now timely for Evolve and the centre manager to focus on developing a strategic plan to guide their future direction. The plan needs to identify long-term and short-term goals, and detail in an annual plan about how these goals will be achieved.

The appraisal process needs to be strengthened to incorporate goals based on the strategic plan. It also needs to include observations of teachers, and more formal feedback from appraisers.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Childs Play Pre-School Ltd 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 Childs Play Pre-School Ltd will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

29 March 2017 

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


Tinwald, Ashburton

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

71 children, including up to 20 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 53%; Girls : 47%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnicities





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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

29 March 2017

Most recent ERO reports 

Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

February 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.