Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Wellington 1 - 12/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Wellington 1

How well placed is Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Wellington 1 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 Play & Learn Wellington 1 is a small home-based education and care service. It is privately owned by Dream Au Pair Club New Zealand Ltd, based in Auckland. This is the first ERO review of the service, which opened in 2014.

Dream Au Pair places au pairs in homes. The au pairs come mainly from European countries and stay for a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year. They are carefully screened prior to travelling to take up their roles in New Zealand.  

Au pairs receive orientation on arrival and are mentored and supported by a Wellington-based education coordinator, who visits families' homes monthly to visit children and communicates with the au pair at least fortnightly.

The philosophy underpinning practice and operation has recently been collaboratively 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 expresses a commitment to the principles of Treaty of Waitangi.

The Review Findings

Children experience a good quality curriculum. The education coordinator, overtime, empowers au pairs to provide a good quality learning programme. Each child is well known to the coordinator. She carefully plans each monthly visit to the child's home to support the au pair, identify education and care strategies for the month, and provide appropriate resources.

Quality assessment and planning is evident and responsive to children’s needs and interests. The coordinator models learning stories that are interesting and relevant. These are posted on line for children, au pairs and families.

Children's learning stories show that they are settled and bond well with au pairs. They are actively engaged in educational activities and encouraged to be involved in outdoor play. The development of their skills and dispositions is evident. 

New Zealand's bicultural heritage is promoted in the curriculum. The service supports au pairs to understand this at orientation and through the provision of useful resources.

Children's health and safety is a priority for the service. Sound systems and processes are in place. Au pairs' records are monitored by the education coordinator, who also regularly completes a check to ascertain that requirements are met. Areas of concern are discussed and support, if required, may be provided to remedy potential hazards.

The development of close partnerships with parents is a priority. Good communication with them is evident. Due to widespread locations of the families, parents rarely take up the opportunities for meeting as a group.

The education coordinator is well supported by a manager and three other education coordinators based in Auckland. There is good communication and resource sharing between the manager and coordinators. Service policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and generally reflect legislation and good practice.

The appraisal procedures should be reviewed. The coordinator's appraisal generally meets the expectations of the Education Council requirements. The next step is for the manager to visit on site, to conduct formal observations linked to her practice and au pair and family satisfaction. This should further strengthen quality assurance.

As part of the strategic plan, the service is investigating ways to develop its capacity and promote sustainability of practice and operation. The current model has not provided the anticipated growth in Wellington, despite the commitment to quality.

The annual plan provides guidance for the service and has actions related to teaching and learning.

The service is improvement focused. It has conducted a number of reviews to ascertain the quality of provision that have led to improved practice. The next step is to develop a more evaluative approach, to measure the impact of initiatives on outcomes for children and inform decision making about change.

Key Next Steps

The manager and ERO agree the next steps are to:

  • review the format of the annual plan
  • further develop internal evaluation for the use of management and coordinators
  • improve appraisal procedures
  • update policies and procedures related to meeting the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Wellington 1 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.

The service is currently updating its child protection policy and procedures to more specifically meet the expectations of the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Dream Au Pair Play & Learn Wellington 1 will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

12 August 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 7, Boys 3

Ethnic composition



Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

12 August 2016

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 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.