Kauri Kids Otara - 25/08/2016

1 Evaluation of Kauri Kids Otara

How well placed is Kauri Kids Otara 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.


Kauri Kids Otara provides education and care for up to 29 children, including three children under two years of age. The centre is located in the Auckland Council Leisure Centre in Otara. Many of the families who use the facilities also use this service. The centre provides casual, part-time and full-time education and care. Three of the four staff are fully qualified teachers.

Culturally responsive relationships, partnerships with whānau and community connections are key aspects of the centre philosophy which is based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and includes an organisational belief that ‘active bodies have active minds'.

Since the centre’s 2013 ERO review, staff have maintained their good practices. There have been two new staff members, provision has been made for some children under two and internal evaluation has been improved. The longstanding head teacher continues to build credibility with the local community and models culturally appropriate practices for teachers, parents and children. There has been targeted professional learning and development which has resulted in significant improvements.

Kauri Kids Otara is one of ten early childhood centres that are owned by and operate within policies and framework of Auckland Council. Auckland Council delegates management responsibility to the Childcare Services Manager. The centre’s head teacher works closely with a newly appointed curriculum manager, who visits regularly and provides professional advice and support for teachers.

This review was part of a cluster of four Kauri Kids reviews.

The Review Findings

Children in this centre are busy and play enthusiastically in groups and in pairs or alone. They are very actively involved in the indoor and outdoor environments and engage in sustained play. There is an increasing focus on promoting language and literacy as part of play. Infants and toddlers have their own separate space, but also benefit from mixed age play which reflects the centre’s belief in maintaining family connections.

Teachers provide a welcoming learning environment. Children’s languages and cultural identities are very well reflected and valued. They enjoy a strong sense of belonging. Well resourced and carefully placed play areas support children’s play. Wall displays reflect teachers’ respect for New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and children’s family backgrounds. Children have fun as they explore and learn. Regular access to the community facilities, including the gym and swimming pool provide extra opportunities for children to be physically active.

Warm, responsive relationships between teachers, children, parents / whānau and the community are a longstanding feature of this centre. Teachers’ caring interactions support children’s play and language development. Teachers work well as a team and are responsive to children and their families and cultures. Children’s and teachers’ home languages are heard in meaningful conversations.

Teachers know children and their family backgrounds well and use their home languages with children. There is evidence that teachers know about parents’ aspirations and continue to support parents to have input into their children's learning. Teachers now need to support children to develop more complex play and use conversations that build on children’s prior knowledge.

Teachers plan and implement a responsive curriculum that reflect Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum,and the centre philosophy, and nurtures children’s languages and cultural identity.
Te reo and tikanga Māori are a strength in the programme. Teachers have re-established planning systems and, with support from the curriculum manager, continue to improve planning and assessment. Portfolios are good records of children’s involvement in the programme and show children’s strengths and interests.

Teachers work collaboratively and benefit from the mentoring and effective leadership of the head teacher. They are encouraged to take responsibility and share their strengths and knowledge. The Auckland Council also provides leadership and professional development opportunities for teachers as well as administration and professional support.

Self review is established and becoming more focused on improving outcomes for children. There is a shared vision and clear direction guided by the strategic and annual plans. A rigorous appraisal system has been implemented that aligns to the strategic plan and teacher goals. Teachers’ appraisals identify appropriate professional learning needed to support their development.

The Auckland Council has good systems to guide centre management and governance, maintain ongoing improvement and ensure accountability. A robust system is in place to monitor health and safety practices and ensure all centres meet legislative requirements. The Auckland Council has a strong commitment to implementing bicultural practices and responding to community needs.

Key Next Steps

The centre leaders agree that key next steps for the centre include:

  • strengthening internal evaluation, using indicators of good practice
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their programme planning and their own practice, with a focus on children’s learning  
  • continue to strengthen the quality of teachers’ interactions with children and their whānau. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kauri Kids Otara 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 Kauri Kids Otara will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 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 


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 3 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      14
Girls       13

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


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

25 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

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.