Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre - 12/12/2019

1 Evaluation of Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre is a community-based, all-day centre located in the public hospital complex. The centre is licensed for 93 children, including 35 children under two years of age. It caters for families who are hospital employees and it is governed by a parent committee. The centre manager provides the day-to-day leadership. Children are grouped in two rooms according to their age. Each room is led by a head teacher.

The centre's philosophy shows a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki. This includes having respectful relationships with the children and their whānau, celebrating the values and beliefs of families, and instilling a love of learning in all children.

Since the last ERO review in 2016:

  • a new headteacher has been appointed

  • the centre has changed from providing a five-day service to a seven-day service

  • improvements have been made to the indoor and outdoor environments

  • the centre is more flexibly responding to parents' work schedules

  • good progress has been made in addressing the next steps identified in the ERO report.

The Review Findings

Leaders' and teachers' strong focus on children learning through play and leading their own learning, on-going improvement and an openness to change are key aspects of this service that are promoting positive outcomes for children.

Children experience a broad and rich curriculum. Teachers set the environments up to promote curiosity, exploration and foster independence. ERO observed children engaged in independent experiences and co-operative play for sustained periods of time. Teachers make effective use of the local environment, resources and amenities. They ensure that children's learning experiences are authentic and meaningful. There were respectful and nurturing interactions between teachers and children.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported, including appropriate resourcing as required. Children show a strong sense of belonging to their centre that promotes children's learning and wellbeing.

Infants and toddlers learn, play and are cared for in two appropriately resourced rooms. One of the rooms is specifically for those infants under one year of age. Teachers have a strong commitment to following the rhythms and patterns parents want for their children. The teacher to child ratio is kept low. Good communication between the teachers ensure the infants' and toddlers' needs are well met and routines followed.

Teachers know the children and their families well through the useful partnerships they establish with parents. They are responsive to the wishes of parents. All children have extended opportunities to learn about aspects of te ao Māori. Children's diverse cultures are valued and celebrated. Stories, songs and language from their cultural backgrounds are part of the centre's programmes.

Leaders have developed processes to build the collective capacity of the teaching teams. These include:

  • effective internal evaluation procedures that lead to centre-wide improvements

  • well-resourced professional learning and development

  • valuable staff appraisal developments and implementation

  • a clear line of sight between strategic priorities, long and short-term planning, professional learning and development and internal evaluation.

Key Next Steps

The next steps for leaders are to:

  • use Te Whāriki (2017), along with parents' wishes for their children's learning and teachers' perspectives, to establish priorities for children's learning

  • make the priorities for children's learning more explicit in key processes, such as planning for and evaluating children's learning, internal evaluation and strategic planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

12 December 2019

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

93 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 52%, Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


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

October 2019

Date of this report

12 December 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

October 2016

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

November 2008

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

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.