Golden Sands Early Learning Centre - 16/06/2015

1 Evaluation of Golden Sands Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Golden Sands Early Learning 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.


Golden Sands Early Learning Centre (ELC) is an all-day education and care service catering for children from birth to school age in two separate age-based areas. It is located in a residential area of Papamoa, Bay of Plenty adjacent to the Golden Sands primary school. At the time of the ERO review 66 children were enrolled including 19 children of Māori descent.

The recently reviewed centre philosophy expresses the aim to create an environment where the child is the heart of the matter. It includes four guiding principles:

Aroha-Love and Compassion Manaaki-Nurturing and Support Whakakoha-Respectful and Giving Whanaungatanga-Relatedness and Connection.

The centre operates under the umbrella of the Central North Island Early Education Services Trust (CNIEEST). The trust provides appropriate governance support through comprehensive policies and procedures, administrative personnel, and regular visits from experienced professional leaders. The centre benefits from the guidance and skills of the trust’s wider professional team.

Since the 2012 ERO review there has been a temporary change of professional leadership and centre management. The current centre manager is providing effective and shared leadership and maintaining a positive team culture. The previous centre manager returns from a period of secondment in June 2015. The centre has made good progress with the areas for improvement identified in the 2012 ERO report. Teachers have developed and embedded a shared understanding of teaching practice and strengthened self review, including the appraisal process. The annual plan was developed in consultation with families and there are clear links to the CNIEEST association strategic plan.

There continues to be a need to strengthen assessment practices and build teachers’ knowledge and use of te reo Māori.

The Review Findings

A particular strength of the centre is the building of partnerships to work with families and whānau. This is evident by the way tangata whenua have moved into leadership roles to guide and support tikanga Māori. Close and meaningful relationships have been established through visits to Tahuwhakatiki Marae and reciprocal visits from kaumtua and whānau to the centre. A professional leader and a teacher with skills and knowledge of te ao Māori are nurturing the centre’s response to this relationship. Tamariki enjoy participating in waiata, kanikani, whakatau and sharing in stories and legends about local knowledge and history. This is contributing to the mana, identity and well being of Māori tamariki.ā

Babies, toddlers and their families benefit from ‘touchstone’ teaching staff who provide consistent caregiving for children up to the age of two years. Teachers and families report that this approach has enhanced the care and learning environment, and resulted in children who demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. The 'touchstone' concept remains in place for all children throughout their time in the centre.

Teachers consistently use a sensitive, calm and unhurried approach in their interactions with children. They have deepened their knowledge of children and their relationships with families and whānau. Teachers are skilled at communicating both verbally and non verbally with children, and frequently include baby sign language to empower them.

Children and whānau are welcomed into a high quality environment that provides many interesting opportunities for children to explore and learn. Teachers individualise centre routines to respond personally to each child on the basis of information shared with parents. Transitions into the older children’s area are well planned in partnership with families.

Older children experience a curriculum that provides them with choice and challenge from a wide range of open-ended equipment and activities. They are encouraged to plan and lead their learning alongside supportive teachers. This is promoting their confidence to express opinions and make choices. Children’s emerging skills in literacy and creativity are celebrated and displayed throughout the centre. Early concepts of mathematics are integrated into the context of play.

Children experience opportunities to plan and participate in many trips into the local community that respond to their interests. The environment is a strength of this centre. Gardens and native plantings engage children in exploring Papatuanuku and the natural world. Next steps are to ensure that:

  • all areas of play are presented to motivate and engage children’s interests
  • teachers continue to add complexity to children’s learning.

Teachers are a collegial and professional team who value one another’s skills and contribute these to enhance the programme. They are enthusiastic about professional development, and have benefited from recent and relevant learning to enhance reflective practice. Teachers know children and families well, focus on individual children’s development, and respond to their interests and strengths. Two male teachers contribute valued perspectives to the teaching team and provide positive role models for boys.

The centre manager has earned the trust and respect of the teaching team through her open communication, modelling and shared leadership style. She has guided self review focused on the quality of the programme in action and improving outcomes for children. She maintains positive relationships with specialist agencies, seeking advice and assistance for children with additional learning needs. Children and families expressed appreciation for the strong sense of belonging and wellbeing they experience at the centre.

Two CNIEEST professional leaders provide knowledgeable, skilled support and direction for the centre manager and teachers. They share regular timely feedback and guidance to teachers about their practice and progress towards their individual goals.

Key Next Steps

Important areas for ongoing centre development and review are centre-wide assessment and planning. This review should focus on:

  • defining a clear and shared purpose for the individual children’s profile books and key elements of assessment and planning
  • continuing to foster learning partnerships with parents through the recently introduced e-portfolios, hui, and formal opportunities to share learning goals and aspirations
  • further integration of every child’s language, culture and identity into the learning programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Golden Sands Early Learning 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 Golden Sands Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 June 2015

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


Papamoa, Bay of Plenty

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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 35

Girls 31

Ethnic composition



Other European


Other Asian






Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

16 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012

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.