Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd - 02/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd

How well placed is Dream Au Pair Club NZ 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.


Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd is privately owned home-based education and care service. They also operate Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Auckland 2 and another service in Wellington.

Dream Au Pair places au pairs in homes. The au pairs come mainly from European countries and stay for a minimum of six months to a maximum of one year. They are carefully screened prior to travelling to take up their role in New Zealand. The families and the au pairs are matched to ensure their values, beliefs and interests align.

Au pairs receive orientation on arrival and are mentored and supported by education coordinators, who visit families' homes monthly, to visit children and communicate with the au pair at least fortnightly.

The philosophy underpinning practice and operation has been recently reviewed to be more child focused. It promotes the importance of a safe physical, emotional and social environment to empower children to make their own discoveries and decisions. It also expresses a commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The July 2013 ERO report, identified the bicultural programme, parent input, and assessment, planning and evaluation as areas for the service to continue to develop. Progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Children experience a rich curriculum with a variety of activities. Infants' and toddlers' care and routines are well considered. Weekly playgroups and excursions into the community provide extension to the programme. Over time, au pairs are well supported by education coordinators to assess children's learning, based on child-led and play-based programme planning.

A monthly planning focus is based on children's emerging interests. Resources and professional development are provided to the au pairs to implement the planned programme. A next step is to strengthen the evaluation of group planning, to inform future programmes and identify the impact on children's learning.

Assessment and planning show progression of learning as well as links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children's learning stories demonstrate how they are settled and develop strong reciprocal relationships with their au pairs.

The service is well prepared to support the learning of children with diverse needs.

New Zealand's bicultural heritage is promoted in the service's curriculum and philosophy. The service supports au pairs to understand this at orientation and through the provision of useful resources. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are at the beginning stages of being embedded in the curriculum. Leaders have identified that this is an area for development. ERO's evaluation affirms this. The inclusion of mātauranga Māori across the curriculum will provide a better foundation for all children and in promoting educational success for Māori children.

Effective communication is evident. Education coordinators develop strong relationships with au pairs and the host families. Documentation of their visits give useful guidance and coaching to au pairs, as well as purposeful teaching and learning strategies. These reports are made available online for children, au pairs and families. Leaders and coordinators have developed a useful range of strategies to enable host families to be well informed and have opportunities to feedback on all aspects of the curriculum.

Education coordinators benefit from effective management. Service policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and reflect good practice and current legislation. An annual plan, linked to the company's strategic plan, successfully guides the service's operation. There are sound systems and processes in place to monitor children's health and safety. Areas of concern and potential hazards are attended to promptly and effectively.

The appraisal procedure for all staff has been recently reviewed. All components meet the expectations of the Education Council. Collecting a broader range of evidence that demonstrates progress towards meeting goals would strengthen this process.

The service is improvement focused. Leaders have started to inquire into aspects of practice to identify what could be improved. A next step for managers and education coordinators, is to further develop their understanding and use of internal evaluation. This should provide additional information to determine the effectiveness of service operations and practices to inform future decision making.

Key Next Steps

Leaders agree with ERO's external evaluation that they should continue to:

  • strengthen the evaluation of group planning to determine the impact of experiences on children's learning

  • build education coordinators' knowledge and skills in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori to better support au pairs' practice

  • develop their understanding and use of internal evaluation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 December 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 Home-based Education and Care Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 34, Boys 32

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

2 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s) 

Education Review

July 2013

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.