Heathcote Valley Preschool - 29/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Heathcote Valley Preschool

How well placed is Heathcote Valley Preschool  to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

        Well placed

Very well placed

Heathcote Valley Preschool is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Heathcote Valley Preschool is a privately owned, purpose-built centre. The preschool provides care and education for infants, toddlers and young children in four separate areas. Leaders and teachers offer a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to the learning programme. The centre is licensed for 85 children, including 15 under the age of 2.

All teachers are qualified early childhood teachers. One of the Directors has the responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the centre and also works as a teacher across the learning programmes.

Since the 2013 ERO review, centre leaders and teachers have addressed the key next steps by strengthening the identification of learning in children's assessment. Centre leaders regularly appraise teachers against the practising teacher criteria.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and confident in their learning environment. They experience positive interactions and respectful relationships with each other and their teachers. Children have many opportunities to choose from a wide range of thoughtfully presented resources. This encourages them to be creative and develop new skills and knowledge.

Children are learning about the significance of mihi. Teachers plan for the use of te reo Māori in the learning programme. Teachers place strong emphasis on purposeful set up of environment and provide a variety of interesting activities based on core areas of the centre curriculum and children's interests. Natural materials and sensory experiences are used with the children to be creative and extend skills and knowledge.

Teachers provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for children and parents. They encourage children to work together, support each other and share their learning. Teachers encourage children to follow their interests. They observe children and work purposefully with them, taking time to extend their ideas and thinking.

Technology is accessible for digital literacy, interactive learning and extension. Families have online access to children's portfolios.

Babies and toddlers in the nursery experience calm, nurturing relationships and routines with teachers who know them well. Teachers develop strong relationships with families and share daily information about children. They carefully follow routines from home. Teachers provide an appropriate range of physical challenges and interesting places to explore as part of the learning programme.

Transitions into and within the centre are well planned and flexible. They are clearly focused on the needs of children and their families. Centre leaders have developed good relationships with the local school. This helps children build the confidence they need to successfully transition to school.

Centre leaders and teachers foster respectful, collaborative relationships with parents. They regularly seek parents' views and contributions in a variety of effective ways.

The directors value a collaborative management and leadership approach. They developed the regularly monitored strategic plan with input from teachers and the centre community. This document gives clear direction and vision for the centre.

Centre leaders have high expectations of teachers. They use the appraisal system well to further develop teacher practice by supporting them to identify and set clear goals. Teachers work well together and give each other professional feedback. Centre leaders provide a range of relevant professional development to support teachers in their work. They use teacher's strengths and interests to build leadership skills and experience.

Centre leaders and teachers are strongly focused on improvement and make good use of self-review to guide their strong improvement focus across centre operations and practices.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation confirms, that the key next steps are to:

  • increase the visibility of bicultural perspectives across centre practices and operations
  • streamline assessment, planning and evaluation processes to make the focus on children's learning more evident.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Heathcote Valley Preschool  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 Heathcote Valley Preschool  Preschool will be in four years. 

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 August 2016 

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

85 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 51; Girls 48

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

June 2016

Date of this report

29 August 2016

Most recent ERO report


Education Review

April 2013

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.