Darfield Preschool And Nursery - 03/12/2012

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

The service is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.


Darfield Preschool and Nursery is owned by a non profit making charitable trust and is governed by a parent elected board of trustees. The centre services a large rural area and works with other local school and early childhood education services.

The centre’s philosophy encourages children to be confident, independent learners with the skills to explore and succeed in the world around them. This closely reflects the values of the community and teaching staff. The centre employs a high number of qualified teaching staff. Hours of opening have recently been extended to better meet the needs of families.

The centre will relocate to a new site with purpose-built facilities at the beginning of 2014.

Areas of strength

Positive relationships among children, teachers and families contribute to an inclusive and nurturing environment. Teachers know the children well and are warm and caring in their interactions with them. They work with children in an unhurried way in order to promote their individual interests, strengths and abilities. Teachers also actively support and extend children’s oral language development through effective use of questioning and by encouraging their thinking.

The programme has a strong focus on children’s free choice of activities. This is promoting confidence and independence in a wide range of learning opportunities. Children use the spacious outdoor area well to engage in challenging, creative and physical play. They play well together and older children often help younger children and include them in their games. Teachers make good use of the local environment and resources in and beyond the centre to promote children’s social and learning development.

Teachers focus on involving the community in children’s learning. This is helping to develop a sense of belonging for children and their whānau. Managers and teachers regularly communicate and consult with parents and make good use of their feedback to continue to improve centre operations. They work closely with local schools to support positive transitions to school for children.

Managers use a variety of effective practices to ensure that the centre is well run. These include promoting:

  • a shared understanding and purpose about high quality learning
  • teamwork and encouraging teachers to reflect on their practices
  • opportunities for shared leadership.

Managers are using these practices to make further improvements to the appraisal system and self-review processes to support teaching and learning.

Trustees provide good support for managers and teachers. Managers have clearly defined processes for self review and governance responsibilities.

Areas for development and review

Trustees and the managers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the centre trustees and staff need a more planned approach to self review. This should involve developing a long-term plan which identifies centre priorities, timeframes, responsibilities and expected outcomes.

Teachers are currently reviewing their programme planning and assessment practices. The next steps are to ensure that these include:

  • clear expectations and guidelines for programme planning and assessment
  • documenting and evaluating the impact of teaching strategies on learning outcomes for children
  • continuing to develop te reo and tikanga Māori within the programme

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Darfield Preschool and Nursery completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they select ‘have’ or ‘have not’ taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

3 December 2012

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Darfield, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā



Other Ethnicities





Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

3 December 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2009

February 2006

December 2002

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.