Dream Education Programme (3) - 11/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Dream Education Programme (3)

How well placed is Dream Education Programme (3) to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Dream Education Programme (3) requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

The service provider needs to improve the monitoring of health and safety practices to ensure licensing requirements are met.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Dream Education Programme (3) is one of 10 home-based education and care networks operating as part of the Dream Education organisation. The network provides for families who have employed an au pair to look after their children in their own home.

Many of the au pairs in this network are from overseas and typically stay in Aotearoa New Zealand for up to one year. Qualified and registered visiting teachers (VTs) visit au pairs monthly and provide resources, activities and ideas to support children's learning.

The owner works with a general manager, an education manager and a placement and administration team. The philosophy of 'given respectful relationships, the right environment, and support, children will develop holistically and at their own pace' underpins service operations.

This review was part of a cluster of six home-based education and care networks in the Dream Education organisation.

The Review Findings

Children participate in many excursions in the community, engaging in spontaneous and planned learning experiences. Their learning records show that children have fun, make choices, and their individual needs are responded to well by au pairs. Playgroups and service events provide good opportunities for children to learn and socialise as part of a larger group.

Au pairs provide a play-based programme. They keep good records of each child’s day, noting routines and activities that children participate in. These experiences include early literacy, mathematics, science and many opportunities to be creative and physically active. There is a strong focus on children learning through everyday experiences.

Children's emotional wellbeing and sense of belonging is well supported. VTs support au pairs to understand the preferences of infants and toddlers. Au pairs provide individualised, nurturing care for these younger children.

Service operations are underpinned by a shared belief in the educational benefits of home-based learning for children and their families. There is an organisational commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, implementing bicultural practices and using te reo Māori in the homes.

There are robust placement processes. Au pairs are carefully matched with each families' beliefs and values. Parents give positive feedback on the education and care of their child and the support they receive from the service.

Relationships between service leaders, VTs, au pairs and parents are respectful, responsive and trusting. VTs use an individualised approach to affirm and support au pairs in their work with children. Au pairs receive useful documentation that provides clear guidelines and expectations about their role.

Service leaders, VTs and administrators work collaboratively to manage the service. Clearly defined values and roles guide the service's vision and strategic direction. The service philosophy and vision are well reflected in service practices and policies. Processes for internal evaluation have been established and are used by service leaders to review practices and target areas for further development.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps are to:

  • strengthen the monitoring of policy implementation and health and safety practices to assure the service provider that licensing requirements are being met

  • evaluate how well the programmes in homes reflect Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and respond to, plan for and extend individual child-led learning over time

  • use internal evaluation to enhance service provision, and evaluate the impact and outcomes of improvements on teaching practices and children's learning

  • more clearly document how VTs coach and guide nannies to improve how they respond to children’s individual interests and implement Te Whāriki in home-based environments.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dream Education Programme (3) 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.

Since the onsite visit, the service has provided ERO with evidence to show that all children's workers who have access to children are now being correctly safety checked in accordance with the Children's Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to health and safety. To meet requirements the service provider must ensure records consistently show that:

  • emergency drills are carried out in homes on at least a three-monthly basis

  • a procedure for monitoring children's sleep is implemented

  • there is evidence of parental acknowledgement of all medicine given to children

  • a written supervision plan to ensure the health and safety of children enrolled in the service is maintained.

Licensing Criteria for Home-based Education and Care Services 2008, HS7, HS8, HS25, HS34.

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends the Ministry follows up with the service provider to ensure that non-compliances identified in this report are addressed promptly.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

11 June 2020

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


Grafton, Auckland

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

Boys 29 Girls 29

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

March 2020

Date of this report

11 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review

December 2016
July 2013

Previously known as Dream Au Pair Club NZ Ltd Auckland

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

ERO’s Overall Judgement

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed
  • Well placed
  • Requires further development
  • Not well placed

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.