Discoveries on Lincoln Rd - 22/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Discoveries on Lincoln Rd

How well placed is Discoveries on Lincoln Rd 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 on Lincoln Road is a new centre located upstairs in an industrial building in Henderson. The centre caters for 50 children including up to 15 children under two years of age. Full day and sessional options are available for families.

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. All three areas share an outdoor area and children benefit from opportunities for mixed age play with careful supervision.

Children and the staff come from diverse cultural backgrounds. A new centre leader was appointed in April 2016. Several staff are new to the centre and have quickly formed relationships with children and their families. The teaching team is reviewing the centre's teaching philosophy in relation to the Discoveries Educare organisational philosophy.

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. Two new support managers are planned for, and another 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.

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

Teachers thoughtfully support children to be confident and capable learners. Children learn in a culturally inclusive and responsive environment. The culture, language and identity of children and their families is vibrantly reflected in the centre. Children benefit from caring, welcoming teachers who speak their home languages and support their oral language development.

Younger children experience good quality care and education. They settle quickly and have affirming relationships with their teachers. The environment is calm and provides a good range of resources for children to experience. They have very good access to the outdoors and are able to play alongside older children. Care routines are well managed and individualised.

The programme is flexible and responsive to children's interests. Children can make independent choices to sustain their learning. Teachers promote children's early literacy and numeracy skills meaningfully in the programme. As the centre continues to diversify, more natural resources and regular scientific exploration could help to extend children's learning in the outdoors.

Teachers plan collaboratively, and thoughtfully document children's holistic growth and developmental milestones. Children's learning records are attractive and accessible for children and families. Teachers could more consistently document next learning steps for individual children, and note how well children achieve these.

Leaders and teachers prioritise building positive relationships with whānau. The centre has a dedicated space for conversations with families. Online communication systems are used to regularly share children's learning with families at home. These systems provide valuable opportunities for whānau to contribute to the programme, and to share aspirations for their children's learning.

The centre is well led. Teachers are supported to take leadership roles, and encouraged to share their ideas to contribute to ongoing centre improvement. The centre leader works with the three teaching teams to identify and use effective teaching practices. Collaborative relationships among staff help to promote a positive working environment.

A regularly updated organisational policy and procedure framework 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 other organisational leaders.

Key Next Steps

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

  • extending teachers' use of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori
  • developing the challenge and complexity of children's learning in the outdoor environment
  • consolidating teachers' use of effective teaching practices
  • providing the outdoor area with more shade in summer, and shelter in winter.

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 ensure that teachers 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 on Lincoln Rd 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 on Lincoln Rd 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 


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       26
Boys      25

Ethnic composition



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.