Cumberland Early Education Centre - 04/05/2015

1. Evaluation of Cumberland Early Education Centre

How well placed is Cumberland Early Education 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.


Cumberland Early Education Centre is located in Hamilton and provides full-day education and care for pre-school children from three months of age. The centre is licensed for 120 children, including 50 under two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, 97 children were enrolled, of whom 26 identify as Chinese.

The centre is a modern, purpose-built education facility and opened in 2012. This is the first ERO review for the service. The building is divided into five autonomous rooms each specialising in a specific age range. Each room is overseen by a team leader who is supported by the centre manager. An additional service is the provision of nutritiously cooked daily meals.

The centre’s philosophy aims to ensure children are competent, confident and successful learners and this is well enacted. Teachers in each room have developed their own vision for high-quality education specific to the age of children they work with.

The centre operates under the umbrella of Early Education Waikato (EEW) that provides governance and management for five centres in Hamilton. EEW is a non-profit charitable organisation, overseen by three directors, and shares the same CEO as the Waikato Kindergarten Association. Educational Service managers provide advice and guidance for centre managers and teachers. The strategic direction of EEW is guided by their strategic plan and overarching vision, ‘Every child reaching their full potential’. EEW has a commitment to providing a quality, sustainable service that effectively meets the diverse educational needs of all children attending and provides strong learning outcomes for them.

Early Education Waikato is managed effectively by an experienced leadership and administration team, and they manage the Waikato Kindergarten Association. A kaumātua from Tainui provides advice, guidance and support about Māori language, culture and identity.

The centre benefits from clear guidelines and expectations provided by EEW for practice and the availability of good self-review processes for monitoring and evaluating the quality of education and care it provides. These processes are contributing to its efficient operation.

The Review Findings

Cumberland Early Education centre is providing high-quality education service for its community. Children and their families are welcomed into a positive culture where relationships are respectful and caring. At all age levels children experience sensitive and trusting relationships with teachers, fostering their sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Teachers use a wide range of highly effective teaching practices to motivate and engage children in purposeful play and learning. Children’s social competencies are promoted by teachers consistently applying positive guidance strategies. These include quality conversations to extend children’s’ learning and thinking skills. Children interact with one another positively in their play and have extensive opportunities to enrich their communication and language development.

Children have access to a comprehensive range of high-quality resources in a spacious, well-organised, safe environment. Children are encouraged to make decisions and lead their own learning in a wide range of interesting experiences prepared in the environment. At various times of the day children are able to intermingle with other age groups and siblings. Children participate in meaningful sustained play where they can develop their confidence as capable, self-managing learners.

Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, underpins all aspects of the centre’s exciting programmes. Strong elements of literacy, mathematics, care and respect for the environment, science and the arts are interwoven into the daily programme. A good start has been made on including te reo and tikanga Māori into the daily interactions and curriculum. The centre manager and teachers recognise that this is an area for ongoing development and they are committed to extending bicultural practices.

Families are invited to participate in their child’s education through on-line individual assessment portfolios that celebrate children’s successes and learning. Parents have opportunities to share their culture and skills, to further enhance learning programmes experienced by children.

Particular features of the age-based rooms are as follows:

Babies (3 months - 15 months)

  • Unhurried and calm relaxed atmosphere with personalised care routines. Teachers are highly skilled in tuning into children’s verbal and non-verbal cues and temperaments and then respond accordingly. They work in strong partnership with families.

Young toddlers (15 months - 2 years)

  • There are opportunities for young toddlers to explore and investigate. Teachers have an in-depth understanding about the characteristics of this age group and skilfully notice children’s interests and guide their social development.

Older toddlers (2 years - 3 years)

  • There are opportunities for children’s social and cooperative learning. Resources provide for individual, small and whole-group play. Teachers know and respect individual differences and preferences of children.

Young children (3 years - 4 years)

  • A well-resourced room provides children with many opportunities to be involved in meaningful sustained play. Teachers provide a quality programme that fosters independence and extends children’s interests and abilities.

Older children (4 years to school age)

  • This is a purposefully designed environment where outdoor play is highly valued. Children develop social competencies in meaningful ways. A literacy-rich programme that supports the development of social competencies. Children’s thinking skills are extend by purposeful interactions and resources that add complexity to their learning.

Since the centre opened management and teachers have reviewed and established systems for centre operations. A focus has been to develop flexible transition procedures that prioritise supporting children’s emotional well-being as they graduate from one room to another, and on to school.

The knowledgeable centre manager, with the support of a very capable educational services manager has set high expectations for quality education and professional practice. Together they provide ongoing effective leadership for curriculum development, staff management and centre operations. The centre benefits from skilled team leaders who have formed an effective professional relationship with management and teachers.

A particular strength of centre operations is the regular, purposeful self-review programme that leads to ongoing improvements to centre operations and practices. A collaborative and reflective team culture focuses on achieving the best possible outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO supports management’s intention to enhance the centre-wide self-review programme by making direct links between the annual plan and teachers’ personal professional goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Cumberland Early Education 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 Cumberland Early Education Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

4 May 2015

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

120 children, including up to 50 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 54

Boys 43

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



South East Asian


Other European

Other Asian











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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

4 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at

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.