Halswell Learning Tree - 21/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Halswell Learning Tree

How well placed is Halswell Learning Tree to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Halswell Learning Tree is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Halswell Learning Tree opened in 2014. It is a family-owned small, early childhood education and care service. The centre provides for children aged two to five years old. This is the first ERO report for this service. 

The owners, centre manager and teachers work well together to meet the diverse needs of their learning community, including those for whom English is a second language. A good ratio of teachers to children supports the individual learning and wellbeing of children.

One of the owners and the centre manager work as part of the teaching team. The centre manager is well supported by an external mentor and a professional advisor to develop centre systems, processes and practices.

The owners, centre manager and teachers have made significant progress in the past year to establish the centre. They have developed a shared philosophy that is focused on providing a welcoming, quality learning environment for children and their families.

The Review Findings

The centre philosophy is strongly evident in centre practices. Teachers foster positive and respectful relationships with children and families by warmly welcoming them and supporting them to develop a good sense of belonging at the centre.

Teachers provide an inclusive learning environment. The individual needs of children are well supported within the play-based learning programme. Teachers encourage children to develop skills and attitudes to become confident, competent learners. Where appropriate, teachers work collaboratively with families and outside agencies to support children’s diverse learning needs.

Teachers are very respectful of children’s cultural backgrounds. They value the language, culture and identity of all children and work sensitively with families to support children’s wellbeing and learning.

Children have good opportunities to develop their understanding of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand, in ways that are respectful of the Māori culture. Teachers talk with the parents and whānau about their aspirations for their children. Teachers are beginning to make stronger links between their knowledge of te ao Māori and how the centre’s curriculum supports Māori children to succeed as Māori.

The child-centred programme is based on Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. Teachers are responsive to children’s interests, strengths and capabilities. Children benefit from a thoughtfully presented environment, predictable routines and a calm and well-paced learning programme.

Children’s oral language is well supported. Teachers listen carefully to children and engage them in conversations that support the development of oral language and conversation skills. Children are encouraged to be confident, to communicate, and to use oral language when sharing ideas, problem solving, and developing and maintaining friendships.

Children have easy access to a wide range of interesting experiences and resources that inspire their curiosity and imagination. Visitors to the centre and purposeful excursions into the community enhance the learning programme. Literacy and mathematics are integrated into the programme in ways that are meaningful for children. Teachers and children have fun together.

Teachers encourage learning partnerships between home and centre. They value children’s ideas and parents’ views, contributions and aspirations for their children’s learning. Parents and whānau are well informed of their children’s learning interests through attractive, informative displays and learning stories. Children and families are well supported to make a positive transition into the centre and onto school.

The centre manager has established systems to support the effective operation of the service. She uses a shared leadership model to promote a positive team culture, reflective practice and teacher expertise. Recent professional development is helping to develop self review and appraisal processes. 

The centre owners, manager and teaching team have a shared vision and a strong focus on ongoing improvement that results in positive outcomes for children and families. 

Key Next Steps

The centre leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps are to refine, embed and consolidate the management and curriculum systems, processes and practices. These include:

  • strategic planning and annual action plans to help manage priorities over time
  • self-review understandings and practices across the team
  • appraisal and performance management processes  
  • assessment, planning and evaluation processes
  • te ao Māori and bicultural practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Halswell Learning Tree 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 Halswell Learning Tree will be in three years. 

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

21 October 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, aged two years and over

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14; Boys 18

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

21 October 2015

Most recent ERO report

No previous ERO reports


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.