Darfield Preschool And Nursery - 26/09/2019

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

Darfield Preschool And Nursery is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Darfield Preschool and Nursery is a community-based early childhood service licensed for 60 children up to school age, including 15 children under 2. Teachers provide education programmes for different aged children in two rooms. Each room has a separate outdoor play area. The centre is in a rural setting on the outskirts of Darfield.

The centre is led by a team made up of a manager, team leader and two lead teachers. There are ten fully certificated early childhood teachers and five teachers in training.

The philosophy is centred on the core values of Whakaute (respect), Whanaungatanga (partnerships) and Taiao Ako (unique environment). The vision is 'To grow our tamariki to be positive, proud, resilient community members who embrace a love of learning'.

The centre is run by a board of trustees. It is a member of Te Hū o Kākāpōtahi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Since ERO's review in 2016, there has been a change to the leadership structure and several changes to the teaching staff. There has also been a number of changes to the board. The centre has made good progress in addressing the areas identified for development in the March 2016 report.

The Review Findings

Strong, reciprocal, respectful relationships are evident throughout the centre and support children's sense of belonging and learning. Teachers collaborate to provide a responsive curriculum drawing on their understanding of each child as a unique learner. Teachers make links to and provide opportunities for children to learn about the local and wider community. They plan meaningful programmes based on ongoing observation of children in everyday activities that shows what children know, understand, are interested in and can do.

Families are an integral part of the learning community. Teachers value the knowledge parents and whānau share about their children. They seek parents' aspirations for their children and take account of these when assessing and planning for children's learning. Records of learning show multiple perspectives and reciprocal sharing of learning information between home and centre.

Māori children are well supported in their learning. They benefit from hearing te reo Māori and learning about aspects of te ao Māori. Teachers have developed strong learning partnerships with whānau and parents of Māori children.

Infants and toddlers are very well nurtured and supported. Consistent caregiving enables teachers to respond sensitively to infants' and toddlers' changing needs and preferences. Teachers have meaningful interactions and provide relevant experiences to encourage their learning and development. The physical environment provides for the safety, wellbeing and social support of very young children.

Successful transitions into and beyond the centre are supported by effective partnerships between the service, families and schools. Recent changes to establish more consistent practices across the centre contributes to a seamless transition at all levels. This provides flexibility especially in the nursery where older children enjoy visiting siblings and kaiako.

Leaders have established a culture in which children are first and foremost valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. Relevant professional learning, and sound induction and appraisal processes support and enable teaching and learning that contributes to positive outcomes for all children. There is a focus on improving the quality of education and care through ongoing reflection.

Key Next Steps

The manager and leaders and need to strengthen strategic and annual planning. This includes:

  • ensuring the service's priorities, associated goals, resources and actions are strongly aligned to learning outcomes for children
  • ongoing monitoring, evaluation and reporting of progress and the effectiveness of planned actions.

The new leadership model should be embedded, and ongoing support provided for the leaders to grow their effectiveness.

Leaders and teachers need to continue to develop and embed internal evaluation processes to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of developments and progress made, and to inform decision making for ongoing improvement and sustainability. This should include reviewing how well the new leadership model is promoting positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Darfield Preschool And Nursery 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

26 September 2019

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 49, Girls 41

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

26 September 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

December 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.