Darfield Preschool And Nursery - 22/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Darfield Preschool and Nursery

How well placed is Darfield Preschool and Nursery 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.


Darfield Preschool and Nursery is a long-established, community-based early childhood centre that is owned by a not-for-profit trust. It is governed by a parent board of trustees. In 2013, the centre relocated into a new, purpose-built facility.

The centre caters for infant and toddlers to school age children, within two mixed-aged group settings, for full day sessions. Both groups have their own indoor and outdoor areas.

The centre has undergone a significant number of staffing changes in the last few years, including centre manager, teaching staff and some new trustees. These changes do not appear to have affected outcomes for children. However, it has meant that some areas identified in the 2012 ERO review, such as self review, assessment and planning are not consistently implemented. Improving bicultural practices still remains a focus.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are warmly welcomed and supported to settle into the programme. Teachers know children and their families well. Children benefit from the positive relationships they have with staff.

Children are confident within the environment and programme. They are encouraged to make choices about their play, develop independence and become self-managing learners. ERO observed children actively involved in the programme and playing well together for extended periods of time.

Teachers provide children with a variety of interesting, easily accessible resources that support their physical and creative development. They make good links between children's home life and the centre.

Children play within a spacious and attractive setting that reflects their rural location. Aspects of Māori culture are evident throughout the environment. There are some aspects of the indoor and outdoor areas that are still being developed. A special feature of the environment is the community garden that has been developed by the staff and parents on the centre's property.

Toddlers and infants are well supported in a positive and nurturing environment. Teachers are responsive to children's needs and non-verbal communication. They actively focus on extending children's language development.

Children's transitions into, within and beyond the centre are well managed and planned for. Teachers support individual children as they move from the nursery to the preschool. The outdoor areas allow young children to interact with older children and see the preschool environment. The centre manager and preschool teachers have good links with the local primary schools. They are involved in a cluster of schools that is focused on supporting transitions for children across the local area.

Teachers encourage parents to be involved in the programme. They promote open communication with parents and are proactively considering ways to seek and include parents' aspirations for their children in programme planning.

The centre manager and leaders provide good leadership for their teams. They are focused on ensuring strong collaboration within and between the teams. Teachers' individual strengths and experiences are recognised and used appropriately to support children's learning and centre developments.

The board, centre manager and leaders are highly supportive and responsive to staff needs. Teachers have benefitted from regular opportunities to participate in professional learning and development. The centre has made good use of external assistance to build on teachers' knowledge and capability, particularly in self review and planning.

The board of trustees, centre manager and leaders have developed a comprehensive strategic plan that provides clear direction and is built on over time. The centre manager and trustees should now ensure that they evaluate their progress to meeting the goals in the strategic plan.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager, leaders and ERO agree that the key priorities are to:

  • embed planning and assessment to ensure consistency across teaching teams
  • make bicultural practices and perspectives more evident within centre programmes and documentation
  • consolidate self-review practices, including strengthening evaluations of effectiveness
  • continue to implement and embed the appraisal process for teachers and develop a robust system for appraising centre managers.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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 Darfield Preschool and Nursery will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

22 March 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 Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 54; Girls47

Ethnic composition





Middle Eastern

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

January 2016

Date of this report

22 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012


Education Review

July 2009


Education Review

February 2006

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.