Kowhai Kids Educare - 28/02/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Kowhai Kids Educare continues to develop its capacity to promote positive outcomes for children. Managers are committed to ongoing improvement as they continue to develop the learning environment and quality of teaching.


Kowhai Kids Educare in Warkworth is a privately owned centre that caters for children from birth to five years of age. The centre operates from two buildings on adjacent sites. The premises have recently been reconfigured to better provide for the three different age groups - infants up to two years, toddlers to four years, and preschool children. Further development of the outdoor environments is planned to provide age-appropriate activities and challenges.

Centre managers have responded to areas identified for development in the 2009 ERO report, although further development is still needed in some of these areas. There have been a number of changes in staff since the 2009 review. The centre managers are currently rebuilding capacity and consistency in practice. Strategies include a recent review of the centre philosophy.

The Review Findings

Positive relationships are evident between teachers, children and families. Children demonstrate a sense of belonging in the centre. Infants up to two years are provided with good care. Teachers interact respectfully and responsively with children in this age group. They foster a peaceful, settled and child-focused atmosphere. This reflects the centre’s philosophy.

Teachers are reviewing and developing how they use resources and spaces in the restructured premises, particularly in the toddlers and preschool areas. This should support children’s independent decision-making, and extend the learning challenges for older children.

Centre staff are committed to developing strong relationships with families, whānau and the local community. A good range of communication strategies helps ensure parents know about, and have input into, centre operations and programmes.

Teachers are appropriately developing a greater focus on bicultural aspects of the curriculum and teaching and learning practices. They are becoming increasingly confident in their use of te reo and tikanga Māori. Useful professional development has assisted this improvement. Ongoing support with te reo Māori and tikanga is provided by more confident staff, whānau and community. Staff recognise the importance of continuing to provide opportunities to support the culture, language and identity of all children.

Teachers have refined programme planning so that they can better capture children’s emerging interests. Wall displays show ongoing planning and current focuses. Portfolios are attractive records of children’s participation in programmes. Staff are now considering how planning and assessment documentation can be further developed to promote teacher response to children’s interests and learning in daily programmes.

Previous ERO reports have commented on the need for teachers to focus on extending children’s learning opportunities, and strengthening the provision of literacy and numeracy learning through play. Centre managers recognise the importance of these priorities and are working to extend and embed them. This should include the review of structured literacy and numeracy teaching times and their appropriateness for early childhood education.

ERO and centre managers agree that in order to improve practice:

the centre’s curriculum should continue to develop child-led learning and decision-making

  • programme planning should focus more on identifying children’s individual interests and the ways in which these will be extended over time
  • teachers should continue to develop teaching practices that facilitate more sustained and complex play.

Strategic plans and policy frameworks are established in the centre. Systems and procedures continue to be reviewed and strengthened. Structured self-review processes are in place and managers are continuing to further refine the use of these processes. Professional development has been accessed where appropriate. A new appraisal system has been implemented which provides good guidance for teachers. These planning and review systems provide a good foundation to promote positive outcomes for children.

ERO and centre managers agree that in order to continue to build professional capability centre management should:

  • clarify and formalise links between strategic and annual goals, self review outcomes and teacher appraisal
  • continue to make use of outcomes from self review and appraisal to review and build the quality of teaching and learning practices
  • develop clear and measurable indicators of high quality practice to help them guide and grow teacher capacity
  • continue to strengthen the alignment of centre philosophy and practice.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kowhai Kids Educare 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.

ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. To address these centre managers must:

  1. establish procedures for monitoring the police vetting of employees and contractors [Education Act 1989]
  2. secure furniture or equipment that could topple and cause injury or damage, [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS6].

To improve current practice, managers should also:

  • improve systems for the review and management of physical hazards
  • ensure positive guidance practices are in line with centre policy.

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

28 February 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34

Girls 32

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākeha








Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Exceeds minimum requirements


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2012

Date of this report

28 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

October 2009

January 2007

November 2003

General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

  • 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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.