Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre - 28/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre is a family-focused service that operates in a converted villa in Tikipunga. Full-time and sessional early childhood education and care, is offered for up to 30 children aged over two years. Māori children make up 30 percent of the roll. The owner leads a staff team that includes two other qualified teachers.

The centre's philosophy, teaching approaches and desired outcomes for children are clearly articulated. They are linked implicitly with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The philosophy statement expresses a commitment to the significance of te Tiriti o Waitangi. There is a strong focus on relationships and promoting children's positive dispositions for learning.

At the time of the 2015 ERO review, this service was known as Giggles Learning Centre, Kiripaka. The current owner/head teacher bought, refurbished, and relicensed the centre as Inspired Minds Early Learning Centre, at the end of 2016. The service is no longer linked with the second Giggles Learning Centre, which still operates in Whangarei.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy, vision and values are strongly evident in practice. Teachers recognise each child's potential, and work responsively to foster positive learning experiences and wellbeing for all. Children are well supported to develop their confidence, curiosity and creativity. They are viewed as capable leaders and learners. Children's empathy, resilience and care for others are actively fostered. They show a strong sense of belonging.

The capable teaching team works collaboratively to support positive outcomes for children. Teachers engage thoughtfully with children as they explore the centre, and recognise significant opportunities to enrich learning. The team communicates well to adapt interesting resources and the environment in response to children's emerging interests and strengths. Flexible routines promote children's choice and growing independence.

Teachers provide well for children with diverse learning needs and challenges. They work with patience and an ethic of care to develop highly supportive and trusting relationships. Programmes and teaching strategies are well considered. Assessment of children's learning is consistently strong. A rich culture of tuakana/teina relationships between children is acknowledged and celebrated as part of the daily routine. Children thrive in this respectful and nurturing atmosphere.

Families are integral to this service. Teachers consult with them about policy review and seek their aspirations to tailor the programme and routines. Portfolios effectively communicate significant development for each child. Teachers are building partnerships with whānau that are highly supportive of children's individual developmental and learning needs. The team will continue to further grow community engagement in the day-to-day life of the centre.

The new owner is reflective and ably models best practice in embedding the centre's philosophy and goals. Clear systems are in place that support respectful, effective practices. Team roles and responsibilities are well defined. Teachers are affirmed as leaders. Their collective growth is assisted by peer mentoring and appraisal inquiry. The owner now plans to further highlight the required teaching standards in the appraisal documentation and processes.

Strategic goals and centre priorities are informed by the teaching team's deep commitment to the care and wellbeing of children and families. The owner is keen to refine internal evaluation processes to align with centre goals. This should enable the team to more purposefully evaluate its success in achieving valued outcomes for children and whānau, and to inform team training needs.

The service is in a good position to embed, sustain and continue building on the very good practices established under new ownership and leadership.

Key Next Steps

The owner agrees that key next steps are to:

  • align strategic and annual planning with internal evaluation

  • continue to refine the centre's appraisal approach.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Inspired Minds 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

28 February 2019

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


Tikipunga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 13 Boys 13

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

28 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

(Reviewed as Giggles Learning Centre)

March 2015

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.