Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre - 20/10/2016

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

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


Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre, based at Dunedin Hospital, is a community service providing education and care for infants through to school-aged children. A parent committee has responsibility for the centre. A centre manager and two head teachers run the daily programme. The priority for the service is to have low child-to-teacher ratios, and to employ fully qualified teachers to provide the programme.

The centre is divided into three rooms, Te Ruma Koru for older children, and Te Pepe and Te Pakupaku rooms for the infants and toddlers.

The manager and head teachers have worked with teachers to address the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report. Progress includes developments with internal evaluation processes, bicultural and multicultural practice and planning for children’s learning.

The Review Findings

Teachers support children well to become capable, confident, independent learners within a caring and respectful learning environment and programme. Teachers ensure this through effective team work, getting to know the children and their families well, and providing a supportive environment and resources to enable learning.

The environments are well resourced both indoors and out and provide many opportunities for children to develop physical and social skills safely. The centre routines are used as an opportunity for children’s learning and a time for building relationships and learning to care for one another.

Teachers understand the importance of identity and culture in the lives of children and families. They sensitively respond to children's learning and care needs. Children’s learning is well supported and extended through the good quality interactions they have with teachers. These build and extend the children’s language knowledge and use.

Children are settled and engaged in their learning. Programmes are well planned to promote exploration and curiosity and develop confident learners. Children's learning benefits from the wide range of experiences including excursions into the community and a bush-exploration programme.

Te Ao Māori is valued and teachers purposefully include Māori perspectives, te reo, waiata, and mihi as a regular part of the centre programme.

Teachers in the infant and toddler rooms are very responsive to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues. Children are well cared for and teachers are attuned to children’s individual wants and preferences. The teachers work with parents to ensure that what happens at the centre is closely linked to the children’s home routines.

There are effective systems in place to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the centre. Learning stories show teachers' intentions for children’s learning and the progress children are making. They show how teachers support progress and achievement and what they will do next to further the child’s learning.

The capable leaders effectively support the teachers and value their strengths, abilities and commitment to their role.

The planned and spontaneous self reviews have led to the development and improvement of aspects of centre practice.

The manager and head teachers write useful reports to the governing committee. These cover organisational matters and keep the committee up-to-date with the centre programmes and important events or issues as they arise.

The strategic plan would be more useful if it was based on the centre community’s agreed vision and goals for the future. The annual plan needs to link to this to show the steps the centre will take over time to reach the goals agreed on by the community. Leaders need to include the progress being made implementing the centre's strategic goals in their reports to the governing committee. The parent committee may find that some training in governance roles and responsibilities, and strategic planning both interesting and useful.

Leaders and teachers are likely to benefit from greater clarity about how they share best practice ideas and make decisions about centre-wide systems and processes.

Leaders need to strengthen the evaluative aspect of self review and develop a more complete schedule for planned reviews ensuring coverage of all aspects of the centre over time.

Next Steps

ERO had identified that the centre leaders need to:

  • strengthen strategic planning and internal evaluation
  • develop written procedures for appraisal.

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Dunedin Hospital Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 October 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 Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 67

Boys: 58

Ethnic composition






Cook Island







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

September 2016

Date of this report

20 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

November 2008

Education Review

March 2005

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.