Dinsdale Early Learning Centre - 30/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Dinsdale Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Dinsdale Early Learning 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.


Dinsdale Early Learning Centre is an all-day education and care service catering for children from birth to school age. It provides separate indoor and outdoor spaces for babies and toddlers. The centre is located close to the business area of the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale. At the time of this ERO review, 64 children were enrolled including 19 children identified as Māori, and 3 who are identified as of Pacific ethnicity.

The centre operates under the umbrella of the Central North Island Early Education Services Trust (CNIEEST). The trust provides appropriate governance support through comprehensive policies and procedures, administrative personnel, and regular visits from experienced professional leaders. Since the 2012 ERO review two new professional leaders have been appointed. They provide informed and knowledgeable leadership with clear expectations for centre development and improvement. These expectations are linked to the trust’s vision and strategic direction.

Teachers have been involved in centre-wide professional development which has contributed to their good progress in aligning self review and strategic direction. They are working to come to a shared philosophy of teaching. They have also increased their understanding of Māori culture and language, and are including aspects in the curriculum.

The Review Findings

Children have confident, respectful relationships with teaching staff and with each other. They enjoy many opportunities to explore and experiment in a spacious environment. Good quality equipment and resources are readily available, enabling children to choose freely and make creative decisions about their use. Flexible routines allow children uninterrupted time to persist with, and complete, their interests and learning.

Older children demonstrate independence in their learning and in many aspects of their self-care. They are developing their skills in literacy and mathematics through their interaction with well-chosen books and equipment, and with teaching staff. There are many opportunities for children to be involved in music and dance from a variety of cultures that reflect centre diversity.

Babies and toddlers experience gentle, respectful and meaningful interactions. They are very well supported by a dedicated, skilled and experienced teacher, and an experienced teacher aide. The centre manager needs to consistently maintain a level of staffing that meets regulations and sustains the high quality relationships that promote babies’ wellbeing.

Examples of good practice in the baby and toddler area include:

  • toddlers highly engaged in exploring an interesting and very well-presented learning environment

  • teaching staff sharing sustained and responsive verbal and non-verbal communication that supports children’s thinking and their understanding of language

  • teachers supporting gentle, meaningful and responsive care moments.

Children’s transition into and through the centre is well planned and managed. Teachers expressed a view that transitions out of the centre would be enhanced by further developing responsive relationships with local schools.

Teachers’ participation in relevant whole staff professional development has resulted in a greater focus on learning, and the importance of responding to children’s interests. This is making children’s learning more visible to parents, through both profile books and e-portfolios. Parents’ voices and aspirations are becoming more evident through these documents, and the teaching team is developing strategies to track children’s development over time. This should enable the centre to identify needs for additional support. Leaders and teachers should also continue to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation practices.

While parents have many opportunities to share through conversations, the learning partnership could become further enhanced by providing formal opportunities for discussions with teachers. In addition, teachers need to show a more intentional approach to extending or enriching older children’s in-depth learning.

Examples of good teaching practice include teachers:

  • consistently implementing positive strategies that affirm children’s strengths and support them to solve problems
  • communicating together to ensure continuity of learning and care
  • sharing cultural knowledge and including it in the programme
  • promoting tuakana-teina relationships between and among tamariki
  • refreshing the environment to maintain its appeal to children
  • working with specialist agencies to support positive outcomes for children.

Highly committed ancillary staff and relieving teachers make a significant contribution to centre operations and the programme.

Key Next Steps

During the course of the ERO review, it became apparent that there are ongoing challenges about the quality of centre leadership. These concerns are affecting the fulfilment of the centre’s vision for the curriculum, teaching expectations, environment and quality assurance processes. They are also impacting on the teaching team’s sense of direction and cohesiveness. Appropriate systems and frameworks have been used to guide and support improvement. Extensive and frequent professional learning opportunities have been provided to support the centre manager. However, these provisions have yet to improve centre leadership to a satisfactory level.


ERO recommends that the trust continues to improve the management and leadership skills of the centre manager through ongoing support and intervention.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dinsdale Early Learning 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 Dinsdale Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 June 2015

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


Dinsdale, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34

Girls 30

Ethnic composition




South-east Asian

Cook Island










Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

30 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2012


Education Review

August 2009


Education Review

August 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.