Great Beginnings Early Learning Centre - 11/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Great Beginnings Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Great Beginnings 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.


Great Beginnings Early Learning Centre, located in the village of Gordonton near Hamilton, provides education and care for children from birth to school age. The privately owned and operated centre is licensed for 50 children including 15 under the age of two years. The centre’s roll of 61 includes 11 Māori children. It operates three age-based rooms for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The owner is also the centre manager and she is supported by three head teachers to provide professional leadership for the teaching team. Since the previous ERO review in 2015 the leadership team has remained the same and there have only been minor changes to the teaching team. The centre manager and almost all of the teachers are fully qualified and registered early childhood teachers.

The centre’s philosophy demonstrates a contribution to the provision of a loving, caring, nurturing environment that promotes each child’s learning and development, self esteem and individuality.

Great Beginnings has a positive ERO reporting history and responded well to the key next steps in the 2015 report about promoting success for Māori children.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from participating in a broad and rich programme. A special feature of the centre is the large outdoor environment for the over two year olds, that provides opportunities for safe physical challenge and exploration. The programme is a combination of child-initiated play and teacher-led activities. It is enhanced by frequent trips into the local and wider community. Literacy and mathematics learning is naturally integrated through children's play. Children have ready access to a wide range of high-quality resources and equipment. Attractively presented individual portfolios capture children’s involvement in the programme. These are easily accessible, enabling children to revisit their learning at the centre. Well-developed partnerships with local schools support children as they transition to school.

Māori children's language, culture and identity is affirmed by teachers' regular use of te reo Māori, celebration of children's pepeha in wall displays and the incorporation of waiata in the daily programme.

Children under the age of two years enjoy caring and nurturing relationships with their teachers. Their care needs are respectfully managed in a calm and settled environment.

Children with special learning and health needs are well supported at the centre. Leaders and teachers access appropriate external guidance to support teachers and parents to respond to the needs of these children.

Teachers work collegially in the best interests of children. They actively participate alongside children in meaningful play. Teachers make good use of the centre's environment and resources to add complexity and challenge for children. They place priority on extending children's oral language skills through their conversations and interactions. Teachers make good use of positive guidance strategies, to underpin the centre's positive atmosphere for learning. Teachers have productive and meaningful relationships with parents that support them to respond to children's emerging interests.

The centre manager provides well informed governance and leadership. She is an experienced early childhood teacher and is highly respected by the staff. The centre manager is well supported by the three head teachers. There is a long-standing commitment to employing qualified teaching staff and maintaining high teacher-to-child ratios. An appropriate policy framework guides centre operations. Regular self review, including consultation with parents, underpins the centre manager's focus for ongoing improvement. The centre accesses appropriate professional development for teachers and is continuing to strengthen its teacher appraisal programme.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the centre are to:

  • further develop assessment and planning processes to support teachers to more consistently identify children’s learning over time

  • strengthen teacher appraisal process by incorporating regular feedback to teachers based on observations

  • document the centre's local curriculum to reflect the revised Te Whāriki document.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

11 June 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 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39 Girls 22

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


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

11 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2015

Education Review

August 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.