First Steps Ngata Street - 15/06/2016

1 Evaluation of First Steps Ngata Street

How well placed is First Steps Ngata Street 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.


First Steps Ngata Street is an early childhood care and education service located in central Palmerston North. It is licenced for 122 children, including up to 25 aged under two years. The current roll of 137 includes 43 Māori children. The centre is divided into three separate rooms catering for different age groups.

The centre operates under the umbrella of the national early childhood organisation BestStart Educare, formally known as Kidicorp. Governance of the service is the responsibility of BestStart.

Since the June 2013 ERO review there have been several staff changes and the management structure has been reviewed. At the beginning of 2016, a curriculum manager and an operations manager were appointed. These managers have specific roles and responsibilities across the complex. A head teacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of each room.

First Steps Ngata Street and First Steps Carroll Street operate as one adjoining complex and were reviewed at the same time. These services have a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

The service's philosophy is based on building strong relationships between the children, their families and teachers. The Māori proverb, he waka eke noa - we are all in this together, is highly evident in practice. Children are nurtured and learn in an environment where they are valued and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning.

Children are viewed as competent and capable. They lead their own learning and are highly engaged in play for sustained periods of time. Children follow their interests while taking responsibility for their own wellbeing. The learning environment provides opportunities for them to be independent, creative, problem solvers and risk takers. Teachers and children enjoy learning and have fun.

Teachers collaboratively plan programmes that are responsive to children's strengths, interests and family aspirations. An outcome of internal evaluation has been to increase the focus on incorporating te ao Māori linked to the local area. Literacy and mathematical experiences are well integrated across the curriculum.

Profiles are an attractive record of children's learning and involvement in a wide range of activities. The use of online profiles is increasing each families contribution to their child's learning and strengthening links between home and the centre. Leaders and teachers are considering how this tool can be used more effectively to capture the depth and breadth of learning that is happening.

Transitions into, within the service and to school are well planned and responsive to individuals and families. A focus on developing foundation skills within a play based context supports children's readiness for school.

Māori children are well supported in their language, culture and identity. A well-considered leadership team priority is for teachers to respond to Māori children and to support them to be the experts in leading cultural learning. When this is strongly evident, success as Māori is promoted.

The centre continues to engage in conversations with Pacific parents about their aspirations for their children. The next step is to respond more intentionally and enrich curriculum experiences to reflect Pacific languages, cultures and identities.

Children with diverse learning needs are appropriately identified. Teachers work collaboratively with families and external agencies to maximise children's participation and engagement in learning.

Children up to the age of two are nurtured in a calm environment that encourages exploration. Routines are unhurried and responsive to individual needs. Teachers recognise the importance of play as a vehicle for learning.

Leaders have a wide range of professional knowledge and expertise. They work effectively to achieve a collaborative culture. The valued contributions that all staff make foster positive outcomes for children. Teachers are encouraged to be leaders.

Appraisal has been strengthened to support teachers' professional growth and development. Goals are well linked to the service's priorities. Teachers' deliberate inquiry into the impact of their practice on improving outcomes for children is in the early stages of implementation. A next step is to more deliberately use observations of teaching practice as an opportunity to provide constructive feedback for improvement.

Centre knowledge, understanding and use of internal evaluation is developing well. A considered approach and responsiveness to identified priorities result in positive change and development. Recent evaluation has increased professional conversations and actions around teaching and learning. Centre staff are continuing to build their capability in using indicators and evidence-based evaluation to determine the effectiveness of their provision for children.

Key Next Steps

Leaders, teachers and staff should continue to strengthen:

  • teachers' deliberate inquiry into their teaching
  • cultural responsiveness to Pacific students
  • the appraisal process, through more formalised observation of teaching practices
  • internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Steps Ngata Street 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 First Steps Ngata Street will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 June 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

122 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 79, Girls 58

Ethnic composition




South East Asian


Other ethnic groups







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 2016

Date of this report

15 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

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.