Koputai Early Childhood Centre - 05/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Koputai Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Koputai Early Childhood Centre 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.


Koputai Early Childhood Centre is in Port Chalmers and provides full-day care and education for up to 30 children aged from birth-to-five years. It is one of five centres under the Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA). This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in the DCCA.

The children who attend live in Port Chalmers and the surrounding areas. They come from diverse family backgrounds. 

The centre’s philosophy states that teachers value the importance of strong relationships with families. It also expects teachers to encourage children to take risks, be confident to care for one another and to make choices about their learning. These are strongly evident in practice. Teachers have developed a culture in the centre where the community and its values and identity are reflected. 

The centre has continued to make improvements to self-review processes since the December 2011 review.

The Review Findings

Children and their families benefit from the caring and supportive relationships they have with the teachers. Children play well with one another. The teachers welcome family and the wider community involvement in the programme.

All children have many opportunities to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Māori children’s language, culture and identity are regarded as taonga (treasures). 

Māori concepts are very evident in the centre practices. These include:

  • Papatuanuku (sustainability)
  • whanaungatanga ( relationships)
  • tuakana/teina (older children supporting younger children)
  • manaakitanga (caring)

Children’s learning is enhanced by rich and interesting programmes based on the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers work well together to plan and implement a wide variety of experiences that build on both teachers’ and children’s strengths and interests. For example, a teacher’s enthusiasm for sustainability has led to the creation of vegetable gardens and has involved children, parents and the local community.

Teachers deliberately build children’s social competence and sense of identity. Through the way they relate to children they encourage them to take risks, be independent and develop their creativity and thinking skills.

Four-year-old children join in a daily programme that extends their early literacy and mathematics learning through games and projects. They are actively involved in planning for this. 

Infants and toddlers benefit from the relaxed approach to managing their care routines. Two knowledgeable teachers plan individual programmes for this age group and support infants and toddlers as they play and learn in the mixed-age environment. 

As part of this review, ERO considered how well children are being supported to become confident mathematical learners. ERO found there are many opportunities in the daily programme for children to learn mathematics, for example, learning concepts of measurement, weight and volume when baking. Teachers have had some professional learning to enhance their own knowledge of mathematics. Teachers acknowledge that they need to be more deliberate in how they support all children to become capable mathematics learners.

A strength in this centre is the way teachers plan for groups of children’s learning. The teachers have identified that their next step is to improve the way they plan for individual children and respond to parent' wishes for this. They need to show how planned next learning steps lead to progress over time. 

The head teacher has developed shared leadership in the team. Teachers know, value and use each other’s strengths to ensure the smooth running of the centre. They have a commitment to ongoing improvement for better outcomes for children. They have a useful process of self review to make these improvements. The teachers have identified that some aspects of the review process still need development. This includes:

  • ensuring reviews are evaluative
  • sharing outcomes of reviews with parents and DCCA governors.

They should also document better some centre expectations to guide teachers’ practice to maintain consistency and help to sustain and build on the established good practices.

Key Next Steps

The teachers and ERO agree that the key next steps are to continue to develop and strengthen:

  • planning for individual children
  • self-review practices.

Governance and Management of the DCCA

The DCCA is governed by an executive committee and managed by a newly appointed director. The experienced and supportive executive:

  • has a strong commitment to teaching and learning
  • has developed policies to guide practices within the centres
  • seeks the views of parents and staff
  • is more purposefully appraising its teaching staff, in particular against the registered teacher criteria.

Head teachers appreciate the regular meetings they have as a group with the director.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the association has developed a useful framework for self review. The association management need to ensure its practices and those of the centres are following the guidelines. Better implementation of the guidelines should lead to more effective identification of what is going well and what needs further development. Findings from self review should be an integral part of planning.

The executive committee has developed four aspirational strategic goals. The associated annual plan could be improved by setting out how each goal is to be specifically achieved. The association recognises the need for each centre to develop annual plans that align with the association’s priorities. More detailed plans would provide a useful basis for head teachers and the director to write their reports against and for the executive committee to monitor progress against. 

The board needs to clarify the roles of association management and leadership, including the director's responsibilities. This should help the achievement of the strategic plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Koputai Early Childhood 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.

To improve current practice the early childhood leaders should:

  • develop written procedures to guide the results of police vetting and the management of related risks
  • improve its practices for the assessment and management of risk for all excursions.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Koputai Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

5 February 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Port Chalmers, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 22

Girls: 15

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

October 2014

Date of this report

5 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2011


Education Review

August 2009


Education Review

July 2006

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.