Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre - 16/07/2018

1 Evaluation of Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre

How well placed is Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare 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.


Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre is a privately owned education and care service located in the Tauranga suburb of Otumoetai. It is one of four centres owned by an umbrella organisation, the Chrysalis Group. The centre is licensed for 40 children including up to eight under the age of two. The current roll is 42, a small number of whom identify as Māori. Children learn and play in two age-based areas, one for infants and toddlers and one for those over the age of two. The centre is open five days a week from 7.30am to 5.30pm.

A centre manager is responsible for day-to-day management. She is well supported by curriculum and operations managers who provide support and guidance to all centres owned by the umbrella organisation. Eighty percent of teachers are fully qualified and registered early childhood educators.

The centre aims to create the atmosphere of a fern garden that is calm, unhurried and filled with imagination, discovery and fun. Teachers aim to work in close partnership with parents and inspire children to be life-long learners and guardians of the environment.

The centre has responded well to the recommendations of the previous ERO report. A major upgrade to buildings and furniture in 2017 has significantly improved the learning environment in both age-group spaces.

The Review Findings

An effective curriculum provides many opportunities for children to learn through play. Children are supported to develop social and relationship skills through the use of a range of effective positive guidance strategies. Children's oral language development is facilitated by the provision of flexible, open-ended resources that allow for imaginative and fantasy play. Foundational mathematics and literacy skills development is naturally integrated into children's play. There are many opportunities for children to develop their understanding of themselves as kaitiaki of the environment. Children learn self-management skills and resilience in a number of different authentic and meaningful contexts. Children benefit from a well-enacted centre philosophy.

Teachers have respectful, warm and nurturing relationships with children. The atmosphere is settled and unhurried. Flexible routines promote sustained play. Teachers listen and respond to children's changing needs and preferences. ERO observed the following effective strategies being used:

  • open-ended questions to extend thinking and add complexity

  • taking a problem solving approach to enhancing relationships

  • making connections between prior experience and new learning

  • observing and being present.

Teachers use effective strategies to promote smooth transitions to school. A school readiness programme is available for those children who show an interest. This programme extends their self-management, early mathematics and literacy skills. A designated teacher works with the new entrant teachers of the local Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako to strengthen relationships. The centre is well resourced to enhance child-directed learning. Children are confident and well engaged.

Children under the age of two benefit from continuity of care from a small number of teachers who have primary responsibility for the under-two age group. Teachers respect children's rights to be informed and consulted about decisions that affect them. They work closely with parents to ensure that their response to children's care routines are reflective of those at home. Children with emerging special needs are carefully monitored. Teachers work closely with parents and outside agencies to respond to children.

Leaders' value and support teachers. They encourage and promote a positive team culture. Strategic planning identifies the service’s priorities and associated goals focused on ongoing improvement. Regular professional development includes a range of both individual and centre-wide opportunities. These are aligned to strategic priorities and build teacher capability. Teachers feel well supported and empowered to focus on positive outcomes for children.

Governance is effective. A clear vision and philosophy guide centre practice. This is supported by a robust policy framework, and effective organisational systems and processes. Internal evaluation at different levels of centre operation is evident and leads to ongoing development and improvement. A well-developed appraisal process supports teachers to critically reflect on and improve their practice. Governance enables centre leaders and teachers to enact the vision and philosophy of the centre.

Key Next Step

There is now a need to continue to deepen teacher understanding of learning, and become more intentional in responding to children's specific development priorities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare 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 Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

16 July 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


Otumoetai, Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 24 Boys 18

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

May 2018

Date of this report

16 July 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

April 2009

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.