Early Childhood on Stafford - 16/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Early Childhood on Stafford

How well placed is Early Childhood on Stafford 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.


Early Childhood on Stafford is a privately owned, teacher led centre in central Dunedin. The centre is licensed for 50 children, with a maximum of 20 children under 2 years of age. Twenty percent of the children enrolled in the centre identify as Māori. The centre operates full hours for children over two, and a minimum of 20 hours for children under two years of age.

The centre is owned and operated by experienced early childhood teachers and leaders. Leadership and staffing have remained stable since the last review in 2014. Over 80 % of the staff are fully qualified early childhood teachers. The centre supports teachers in training.

All children access a large well-designed outdoor area. Indoors, children learn in two classrooms. One for over two's and another for under two's. Children under two also have opportunities to explore and discover the larger indoor and outdoor areas. The centre is well resourced.

The centre's philosophy promotes physical activity and exploration of the outdoor environment, creativity, challenge and celebrates children's culture and community.

Since the centre's last ERO review in 2014, leaders and teachers have reviewed its philosophy, built teachers' practices for promoting positive behaviour and undertaken significant review of health and safety policies and practices. Teachers are currently participating in ongoing professional development on the revised early childhood curriculum.

The Review Findings

The centre philosophy effectively guides teachers' decisions about what learning is important for children in this place. It provides a strong vision for the centre and underpins practice.

The centre philosophy and practices strongly value the celebration of language, culture and identity. Parents and whānau have the opportunity to be included in these celebrations. Teachers include te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in programmes. They are aware of the need to continue to build their use of te reo Māori and their understanding of biculturalism. Leaders agree that continuing to strengthen the team's understanding of te ao Māori and ways of working with Māori learners is a priority.

All children's wellbeing and learning is supported by their engagement in interesting child-initiated play and teacher-planned sessions. Outdoor areas successfully support the physical development of children through providing fun and interesting activities. Teachers provide authentic learning contexts for early literacy and numeracy. Teachers support and build children's oral-language skills through conversations around topics of interest.

Positive guidance is used effectively to promote social competence and independence in self-care. Children form strong relationships with their peers and play amicably, exploring and engaging in a range of interesting learning activities that successfully support mixed-age groups. Teachers have a clear focus on ensuring that practices are supportive and inclusive. Children who have additional learning needs are well supported.

Infants and toddlers benefit from a good level of care and are well provided for. Responsive caregiving supports their need for secure attachments with a small number of adults. Teachers are receptive to children's temperaments, and their changing preferences and interests. The importance of play as a means of learning is valued and respected. The centre's under two-year old children are well supported to actively explore a range of appropriately challenging play spaces and learning activities.

Since the 2014 ERO review, teachers have strengthened the way that they plan for and show continuity in children’s learning. Individual assessment profiles are accessible to children and families and valued as records of children’s progress and learning. One centre director regularly monitors the overall quality of individual learning stories.

The centre directors have strengthened the teacher appraisal system. They have identified that a next step for teachers is to strengthen inquiry into their own practice.

Centre leaders follow a useful process for planned and spontaneous internal evaluation. This has led to positive outcomes for children. Aligning internal evaluation to the centre's philosophy and good practice indicators is likely to strengthen internal evaluation.

The organisation has a useful policy and procedure framework and provides targeted professional learning for leaders and teachers.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the service have been identified by the manager and centre leaders. These are to:

  • continue to refine internal evaluation, including the use of more purposeful indicators to evaluate their centres own effectiveness.

  • document shared understandings of expected teacher practice, and further align these with teacher appraisal

  • further develop practices for building learning-centred partnerships with parents and whānau.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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 Early Childhood on Stafford will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 January 2018

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

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 24

Girls: 26

Ethnic composition



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 2017

Date of this report

16 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2014

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.