Earlybirds Educare - Keas - 17/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Earlybirds Educare - Keas

How well placed is Earlybirds Educare - Keas 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.


Earlybirds Educare - Keas centre is one of three centres in the same complex, and is located in Rotorua. The centre provides full-day education and care service for children from 4 years to school age. It is licenced for 50 children, and has a current role of 45, which includes 8 children who identify as Māori. There are many (approximately 25%) children from diverse cultural backgrounds attending. The teaching team consists one of unqualified and four qualified teachers.

Since the last ERO review the centre has been purchased by Evolve Education Group which provides governance and management support. A new complex manager and head teacher have been appointed. Leaders and teachers have made positive progress in areas identified for development in the 2013 ERO report. These relate to self review and the emergent curriculum. This centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The centre's philosophy is inspired by Reggio Emilia, where the 'environment is the third teacher'. Children are encouraged to grow as competent and confident learners and communicators, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make valued contributions to the programme. The philosophy encourages children to be independent and to achieve the centre goals that underpin the programme as they transition from each centre within the complex.

The Review Findings

Children demonstrate high levels of confidence, competence and engagement in the life of the centre. They have developed strong and trusting relationships with teachers and their peers. There is good provision for children to be involved in meaningful conversations with teachers and their peers, to develop social competencies and problem solve. Children are active explorers, and are encouraged to be independent, and investigate within the richly resourced environments.

Earlybirds Educare - Keas curriculum is clearly defined and influenced by:

  • a strong focus on the community and the wider world

  • Reggio Emilia inspired programmes

  • a mix of child-led and teacher-led responsive approaches to learning.

The above strands of the curriculum are underpinned by the centre's goals and the projects that develop from teachers and informed by children's interests.

ERO observed many examples of children engaged in sustained play, making choices and decisions about their learning. Aspects of the afternoon programme follows teacher-led and inspired project-based learning experiences. The programme supports children to develop a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Children's learning is effectively identified and documented in their individual journals. Teachers are developing an online portfolio system that is engaging parents and whānau as partners in their children's learning. The assessment process is currently under review, with teacher's trialling different approaches to support deliberate involvement in children's assessment and learning from all staff.

Teachers respond well to children and use a wide range of effective teaching strategies to support and encourage thinking and learning. There is a strong focus on the integration of mathematics, oral language, name recognition, science and natural/real resources.

Leaders and teachers place high priority on supporting and responding to all children, particularly those with additional interests and needs. They work hard to develop reciprocal relationships with whānau and have implemented effective and inclusive transition practices throughout the complex, from centre to centre, and to school.

Leaders and teachers have developed effective and useful systems for regular self review. The outcome of self review is informing positive changes to procedures and teaching practice, such as the environment, literacy, mathematics and teacher appraisal. Relevant and useful professional learning and development is resulting in a more collaborative approach to learning and teaching.

Leadership is effectively focused on building teacher capability and viability of the centre. Leaders are committed to developing their knowledge and skills to further enhance the environment and teaching practice in order to extend quality outcomes for children.

Effective governance and management approaches are contributing to improved organisational practices and educational outcomes for children. There are now stronger lines of accountability from leaders, and provision has been made for additional resourcing and processes that support increased participation. This has resulted in a significant roll growth, improved sustainability and financial viability of the centre.

Key Next Steps

To provide increased continuity of learning for children as they move between the centres of the complex, leaders and teachers need to review and refine aspects of the curriculum and assessment practice. As part of this review, consideration should be given to:

  • developing a shared vison and expectation for Reggio Emilia inspired approach and curriculum goals

  • personalising assessment for learning and responsive planning for children's individual next learning steps

  • providing professional development for teachers about the online portfolio system

  • aligning the appraisal system with other centre practices.

Attention to these aspects of development is likely to further strengthen and promote positive outcomes of learning for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Earlybirds Educare - Keas 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 Earlybirds Educare - Keas will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

17 February 2017

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 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 25 Boys 20

Ethnic composition













Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

17 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

July 2010

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.

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.