Gumboots Early Learning Centre - 25/03/2015

1 Evaluation of Gumboots Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Gumboots 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.


Gumboots Early Learning Centre is a privately owned early childhood centre set in farmland in the Helensville area. It is licensed to provide care and education for up to 70 children, including 22 up to two years of age.

The centre’s owner and leaders have a clear commitment to providing quality early childhood education. The centre has a strong community focus and provides programmes for children in four age related rooms. At the end of the day, children come together as a mixed age group.

Expansive and well presented outdoor areas provide children with space to explore and play. Children have many opportunities to explore the wider rural environment that surrounds the centre.

The centre’s philosophy focuses on establishing a balance in children’s lives and in their learning. Their social competence is highly valued. Effective communication within the centre and with the parent community increases the influence and impact of the centre’s philosophy.

Many positive features identified in the 2012 ERO report continue to be evident in the centre. The 2012 report recommended that managers strengthen annual and strategic planning, self review, and support for Māori children to succeed as Māori. Good progress has been made in most of these areas.

The Review Findings

Children have a strong sense of belonging in the centre. They are settled and well engaged in their play and with each other. Children are confident and converse readily with adults. Children articulate their needs, preferences and ideas well.

Babies are well cared for in a small group. The small numbers and good adult ratios help to promote close relationships between teachers and these young children. Teachers have well developed expertise in the care of very young children. They know the babies and their routines individually and are highly responsive to their needs. Infants explore their environment freely and self select their play. They are seen as capable children and are supported to become independent.

Teachers notice what children are interested in during their play. They plan carefully to build on these interests and provide appropriate learning opportunities. There are good opportunities for older children to develop appropriate skills in literacy, numeracy, science and te reo Māori. Teachers create good quality learning stories. These capture the children’s play, identify the learning focus’ and note possibilities for future learning. Children’s portfolios are a rich record of their learning and development.

Leaders’ expectations of teachers are well understood and enacted. Routines support the settled tone in the rooms. Teachers have developed each room environment in a way that aligns closely with the centre’s philosophy and is appropriate to the age of the children.

Effective working relationships are evident across the centre. The owner is very aware of the importance of relationships in maintaining the quality of the service. Good communication between teachers and between parents and teachers promotes and sustains these relationships.

The clear vision for the centre is further developed through well considered strategic planning. The centre owner and the manager identify priorities for the centre that focus on children’s learning. Teachers use self review to improve the learning environment and practices within their room. Planned centre wide self review will build on these processes.

The owner and manager provide effective leadership for teachers. Room leaders meet with the manager to discuss the management of their rooms and the specific learning needs of individual children. Leaders know their teachers well. There are high levels of professional trust within the centre.

Children benefit from exploring the neighbouring rural spaces where they are able to interact closely with the natural environment. Local excursions are a feature of the centre. Children are developing a close connection with nature through the centre’s extensive plantings which also include many vegetables and fruit.

Parents find teachers very approachable and knowledgeable about their children. They appreciate the willingness of teachers to talk with them about their child. As a result, parents express trust in the teachers and centre managers. Teachers seek parent feedback through surveys and in children’s portfolios. The online portal for parents has increased parent and whānau feedback related to children’s learning stories and interests.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers and ERO agree that next steps are to continue:

  • developing planned self review to further support centre improvements
  • refining appraisal processes to support teacher development as well as attestation for teacher registration
  • building teachers’ understanding and use of te reo and tikanga Māori to support Māori children’s success as Māori, and bicultural practice for all children
  • exploring how to better reflect children’s cultures within the environment.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Gumboots 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 Gumboots Early Learning Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 March 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


Helensville, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 22 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 56 Girls 36

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

January 2015

Date of this report

25 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012


Education Review

April 2009


Education Review

September 2007

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.