Happy Tots In-Home - 01/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Happy Tots In-Home

How well placed is Happy Tots In-Home 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.


Happy Tots In-Home is one of five home-based education and care networks that provides for up to 80 children, including 80 children under two years of age in Auckland from Karaka to Silverdale. There are currently 67 children enrolled in this network and most children are Chinese and under three years of age. The licensee and staff communicate with and provide information for families in both English and Chinese. This is the first ERO review of the service.

Happy Tots In-Home opened in 2014 and over the past two years the other four networks have been added. The service is led by the owner/licensee who has a business and research background. He works with two coordinators and is involved in all aspects of service operations.

Educators provide programmes in their homes for up to four children at a time. The coordinators are qualified early childhood teachers with current practising teacher certificates. They regularly visit each educator and plan educational programmes for each child.

The Happy Tots philosophy emphasises that relationships are to be characterised by openness, trust and cultural understanding. A commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and respect for te ao Māori underpins the service's approach to home-based education and care.

This review was part of a cluster of five home-based education and care network reviews in the Happy Tots In-Home organisation.

The Review Findings

The licensee and coordinators work together as a highly professional and supportive team. Their philosophy of home-based education and care and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are clearly evident in their planning, practice, and service documentation.

Inclusive relationships and partnerships guide children's learning and the development of the service. The licensee seeks and values parent perspectives about the service. Coordinators regularly communicate with families using a variety of tools and technologies.

Well-considered planning and assessment practices guide relevant programmes for children. Coordinators provide educators with monthly plans that are topical or reflect children's common interests. These thematic programmes are complemented by individual planning for children. Educators and parents contribute to these plans by sharing their perspectives on each child's interests and developmental needs. Literacy and numeracy are an integral part of curriculum programmes.

Curriculum planning, learning assessment and evaluation is well documented and is shared with parents. The coordinators' monthly reports give families good information about their child's individual learning experiences and development towards their learning goals. Coordinators provide families with helpful strategies and resources to extend children's learning at home.

Internal evaluation is a strength of the service and is used at the strategic level through to individual children's learning. Multi-layered evaluation practices are resulting in positive developments in enacting the Happy Tots In-Home philosophy and achieving the service's strategic goals. The licensee takes advantage of educational research and external advice in the service's planning and internal evaluation.

The services' appraisal processes support coordinators and educators to develop their teaching practice. The licensee acknowledges the need to adapt teachers' appraisal processes to align with the Education Council requirements. Teachers' annual appraisal should be based on all Practising Teacher Criteria in order for teachers' practising certificates to be endorsed every three years.

Coordinators benefit from the good range of professional development opportunities available to them. They participate in professional learning together and this is influencing their understanding about effective practices that best promote children's education and care. Coordinators provide educators with professional support and guidance.

The high quality of the service is a result of clear, coherent frameworks for strategic development, evaluation and professional expectations of staff. Rigorous practices for monitoring these frameworks ensure that high standards are maintained.

Key Next Steps

The licensee and coordinators have identified relevant priorities for development. These include continuing to:

  • build a professional partnership with parents and educators

  • deepen educators' bicultural understanding, and their knowledge and use of te reo Māori with children

  • raise educator capability to integrate mathematics and literacy into children's learning

  • develop ways to support children's readiness for school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Happy Tots In-Home completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Happy Tots In-Home will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 March 2017 

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 Home-based Education and Care Service 


Greenlane, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Boys 36 Girls 31

Ethnic composition







Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

1 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.