Connections In The Home - 17/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Connections In The Home

How well placed is Connections In The Home 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.


Connections In The Home is one of two home-based education and care networks operating in Howick, East Auckland. It is licensed to provide an early childhood education and care service for up to 60 children from infancy to school age. Educators provide programmes in their homes for up to four children at a time. Children are able to attend weekly playgroups and community excursions. Educators and parents are also welcome to come to the service office in Howick to access extra resources or attend group events.

The two coordinators are registered early childhood teachers. They regularly visit educators in the home and support them to plan educational programmes for children. Child-led learning in a nurturing home environment, and the provision of a curriculum underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are key aspects of the service's philosophy.

The service providers/owners are experienced professional leaders who are also registered early childhood teachers. They work collaboratively with coordinators, educators and families. The owners have developed highly effective management and administration systems that align with the service's philosophy, vision and mission. This is the first ERO review of the service, which was established in 2013.

The Review Findings

Learning records show that children's sense of belonging and their emotional and physical wellbeing are well supported. Educators provide exciting programmes and they know children very well. Infants and toddlers benefit from nurturing individualised care. Curriculum experiences are responsive to children’s ages, ideas and play interests through planned opportunities, day-to-day household activities, weekly playgroups and excursions. Children's learning is shared with families/whānau in written records and e-portfolios.

The owners, coordinators and educators have shared belief in the value and benefits of home-based education and care for children and their families. Coordinators work closely with educators to provide a responsive curriculum and authentic home and community based learning experiences. Educators maintain good hygiene practices and are supported by the coordinators’ regular health and safety checks. The owners take an active role in the service, foster a team approach and strongly encourage professional development for coordinators, educators and whānau.

There is an organisational culture of trust and respect. Relationships between the service, educators and families are responsive, supportive and caring. Coordinators model effective and inclusive teaching practice in home visits and during group events. They support educators to plan learning programmes for children. Coordinators are improvement-focused and eager to continue increasing educator knowledge and inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori in homes.

The owners and coordinators are reflective and effective professional leaders who are focused on improving educator knowledge and educational outcomes for children. They work in collaborative and transparent ways to share information and develop learning partnerships with educators, families/whānau and the community. Purposeful self review enables them to maintain very good practices and to research areas to develop further. Children's wellbeing and education is at the heart of their service operations and self review.

The owners have a strong commitment to maintaining a high quality home-based education service. Their philosophy and vision are evident across all service practices and policies. Owners also have an ongoing commitment to bicultural development. Comprehensive documentation outlines clear guidelines and high expectations for educators.

Robust health and safety systems provide assurance that expectations are being well monitored. The owners have implemented careful recruitment procedures for educators and team members as part of their strong commitment to implementing the Vulnerable Children Act well. Meaningful, evidence-based appraisal supports coordinators and educators to reflect on and further improve their own professional practice.

Key Next Steps

The owners and ERO worked together to identify key next steps to enhance existing practices. These include:

  • developing long-term goals to inform ongoing improvement
  • evaluating the impact and outcomes of improvement initiatives on teaching practices and children's learning
  • documenting clearly how coordinators coach and guide educator practice
  • continuing to celebrate children's language, culture and identity in educator homes and making these visible in children's learning records.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Connections In The Home completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Connections In The Home will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

17 February 2016

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 Home-based Education and Care Service


Howick, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 60 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Boys 35 Girls 28

Ethnic composition



South African








Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2



Over 2


Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

17 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.