Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd - 22/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd

How well placed is Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd 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.


Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd is a new centre located in a purpose built centre in the Browns Bay shopping area. The centre caters for 97 children including up to 25 children under two years of age. Full day and sessional options are available for families. Children come from diverse multicultural and multilingual backgrounds.

The centre is organised into three spaces, for infants and toddlers up to two years, children over two years of age, and a preschool room. Older children share an outdoor area. Younger children have their own outdoor area that families also use to enter the centre.

The centre leader has worked closely with the three teaching teams to develop a centre teamwork and teaching philosophy. The centre is recruiting a teacher to lead the under two years of age area as part of its wider strategy to distribute leadership.

The centre is owned and operated by the Discoveries Educare organisation. Two owners and a business manager work collaboratively to support 13 centres across the wider Auckland area. Three new support managers are planned for, with one recently appointed, to provide management, leadership and curriculum support.

The Discoveries Educare organisation has rapidly expanded. The owners are now focused on consolidating growth, and appointing qualified staff to promote quality early childhood care and education. A clearly structured strategic plan provides long term direction for ongoing improvement.

Each Discoveries Educare centre operates their own annual plan based on the community they serve. There is a strong family-friendly philosophy based on respectful relationships and valuing children's unique cultural identity.

This review was part of a cluster of four early childhood reviews in the Discoveries Educare organisation. This is the first ERO review for all four centres in the cluster.

The Review Findings

Children develop positive social skills and emotional competence supported by their teachers. They have affirming relationships with their teachers who know them well and provide individualised care routines. Children have opportunities to make choices about their areas of play and learning in the programme.

In the two areas for older children, teachers promote children's early literacy and numeracy skills. A new transition to school programme is also developing. As the centre continues to diversify and expand its resources, more natural resources and environments could help support children's exploration, thinking and wondering.

All children under the age of two are located in one area of the centre, with staff working in close proximity and interacting with families. With such a large group, centre leaders agree to work with staff to minimise noise in order to promote a settled environment. Providing a quiet space for families to sit with their children as they transition in the morning would also be helpful.

Māori and Pacific children are well known and their cultural identity is valued. Teachers are developing culturally responsive teaching approaches. Leaders plan to strengthen teachers' use of te reo Māori. This would also support teachers to meet the Practising Teacher Criteria for teacher registration.

Teachers demonstrate respectful relationships with each other, and with children and their families. They are accessible to whānau, and make connections with children's home life. On-line communication systems are helping families and teachers to share information about children and their learning.

Programme planning systems are well designed, and focused on individual children's interests. Teachers respond thoughtfully to children's current interests. They document children's learning experiences in portfolios, which are attractive and include photos and artwork. Teachers are becoming more consistent in recording children's progress over time.

The centre is well managed and has capable leaders who are open to learning. Leaders could increase expectations of teachers to take leadership roles. Staff could be encouraged to work with different age groups to build shared understanding of effective teaching practices. This could also support children's transition through the centre.

The organisational policy and procedure framework is regularly updated and guides centre operations. Health and safety systems have been reviewed and strengthened using external advice. Staff performance systems are robust. Professional development is well supported by the centre leader and organisational leaders. 

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that next steps for the centre include:

  • increasing children's access to the outdoor learning environment
  • minimising routines so that children can revisit and extend their learning
  • strengthening planning to focus more on promoting exploration, complexity and creativity
  • providing more shade in the outdoor area during summer.

ERO and the Discoveries Educare Management team agree that next steps for the organisation include:

  • extending the quality of leaders' and teachers' evaluation of the outcomes for children in annual planning and internal evaluation
  • developing the support manager role to focus on the provision of quality outcomes for children, with a specific focus on teaching practices for children up to the age of two years
  • continuing to refine staff performance management policies and procedures to meet the Education Council requirements
  • consolidating management systems and processes to respond to organisational growth
  • increasing professional development and support to enhance the bicultural curriculum.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd 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 Discoveries Educare Browns Bay Ltd will be in three years. 

Steffan Brough
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

22 May 2017 

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 


Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

97 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      39
Girls       36

Ethnic composition

Middle Eastern
other European


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 2017

Date of this report

22 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


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.