Country Kids ECE Limited - 04/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Country Kids ECE Limited

How well placed is Country Kids ECE Limited 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.


Country Kids ECE Limited is a privately owned service situated in Norsewood. The centre offers all-day sessions for up to 35 children, including 12 aged up to two years. The service has been in operation for two years. It caters for families and whānau in Norsewood and surrounding farming areas.

The centre’s philosophy of ‘developing children’s strengths and interests in authentic experiences in partnerships with family and whānau’ is evident in the curriculum and the way teachers and parents work together to benefit children. As part of the learning programme children have responsibility for domestic animals and gardens. They learn about the language and cultural history of local Māori and the Scandinavian community.

The licensee-owner manages the centre and leads a team of seven staff, including two who are in training. They all work collaboratively to provide a service that is responsive to children’s needs.

The centre’s strategic and annual plans identify important areas to guide the future development of the programme, policies and procedures.

This is the service’s first ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children are supported to be independent learners in a calm, affirming and unhurried environment that embraces the rural contexts in which they live. Routines are flexible and responsive to children’s growing independence. Children move confidently and freely in spacious areas. They choose from well maintained and plentiful resources.

Relationships with families and whānau are based on mutual respect and trust. Regular conversations between teachers and parents help connect children’s home and centre experiences and learning. Teachers value and include parents' aspirations for their children’s education in planning and learning stories.

Transitions into the centre and to school are sensitively managed and responsive to the needs of each child, their family and whānau. The licensee has built a good relationship with the new entrant teacher at the local school. This helps to make the process of starting school a positive experience for children and their families.

Teachers know the children well and respond to their interests. They are guided by children’s play and use conversations to support investigation and extension of ideas. Ongoing team discussions, based on observations, influence programme planning. Inclusive practices support children’s cultures and identities, and cater for those with additional learning needs. Responsive care giving contributes to infants and toddlers developing a positive sense of themselves.

Children engage in creative individual and group play. They discuss and explore their learning with adults and each other. Children’s current and emerging interests are recorded and tracked by teachers. Learning stories are well documented records of teachers’ observations of children’s play and learning, including te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Family and whānau experiences are also included. The planned display of these on the curriculum wall should help increase families and whānau contributions to the curriculum.

Self review is a shared process and improvement focused. It is a well documented, systematic process of inquiry into the effectiveness of programmes, policies and centre operations. Children’s emotional and physical wellbeing are promoted through sound and regularly reviewed health and safety practices.

The licensee values the knowledge and skills staff bring to teaching and learning. They work collaboratively as a team and share leadership roles. Appraisal provides teachers with useful opportunities to set goals and think about how well they are teaching and making changes to their practices. External professional learning based on centre priorities and individual needs leads to improvements in teaching.

Key Next Steps

The licensee has made significant progress in strengthening connections with centre whānau and local iwi to increase teachers’ knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. ERO affirms that this is an area to continue to develop, to enable staff incorporate tikanga in the centre curriculum and teaching practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Country Kids ECE Limited 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 Country Kids ECE Limited will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

4 March 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including 12 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 25

Boys 23

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



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

January 2014

Date of this report

4 March 2014

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 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.