Kowhai Corner - 28/04/2014

1. Evaluation of Kowhai Corner

How well placed is Kowhai Corner 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.


Kowhai Corner in Kaikohe, Northland, is a well established family-owned service that caters for 33 children up to five years of age. More than ninety percent of the children enrolled are of Māori descent. The centre has two separate areas that cater for infants and toddlers, and for older children. Infants and toddlers have frequent opportunities for mixed-age play in the spacious environment provided for older children.

ERO’s 2011 report noted the good alignment between the centre’s programme and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The report also noted the centre’s positive community and whānau relationships and authentic Māori learning contexts. These very good practices remain highly evident. In 2011, ERO recommended that children’s learning be extended and the quality of assessment records and self-review systems improved. The current teaching team has worked to improve these areas.

The Review Findings

A sense of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and aroha provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for children. Relationships between children, families and teachers are caring and supportive. Parents report that they are very satisfied with the centre.

Tuakana/teina relationships are well promoted amongst children. Older children actively care for their younger peers. Infants and toddlers receive good levels of care from affectionate and responsive staff.

Older children demonstrate a sense of themselves as capable, independent learners and benefit from long periods of uninterrupted play. Children demonstrate positive social skills and collaborate to make decisions about their play. They ask teachers for help when necessary.

The programme includes some positive, meaningful conversations about children’s ideas and activities. Teachers listen carefully to children and foster their independent thinking. Some teachers use te reo Māori well and children are very familiar with its use. Teachers are keen to improve their current practices. A useful strategy would be to consider further ways to promote complexity in children’s play and encourage literacy and numeracy learning.

The spacious physical environment offers children a variety of challenges and opportunities for exploration. Children freely select from the resources available. A specific area contains a selection of resources for infants and toddlers.

Teachers are reviewing programme management systems and how well they respond to the interests of individual children. Planning learning possibilities to extend children’s learning is a next step. More specific planning for individual children would enable teachers to evaluate the impact their programme and teaching practices are having on children’s learning. Teachers continue to seek ways to encourage parents and whānau to contribute to the assessment of children’s learning.

Collaborative management, leadership and team approaches are highly evident. Management systems and processes for making decisions and reviewing policies are well established. The experienced owners are committed to transitioning staff into leadership positions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the centre. To support ongoing centre improvement, teachers could continue to strengthen self-review processes.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that key next steps are to:

  • use an effective teacher profile to guide improved teaching practices
  • focus programme planning, assessment and evaluation processes on learning outcomes for children, and documenting children’s progress over time
  • develop improvement focused goals to guide ongoing annual and long-term development.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kowhai Corner 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.

In order to improve current practices, centre owners should ensure that:

  • items on shelves in the infant and toddler area are securely stored
  • performance management systems for teachers align with the registered teacher criteria.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Kowhai Corner will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

28 April 2014

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


Kaikohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

33 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 15

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





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

January 2014

Date of this report

28 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2011


Education Review

December 2007


Education Review

June 2004

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.