Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education - 11/04/2019

1 Evaluation of Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education

How well placed is Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education service operates 11 home-based education and care networks from premises in Blockhouse Bay. The service was established in 2008, and the director has developed management and administration systems that align with the service's philosophy, vision and mission. The managing director is responsible for the overall governance of the service. An education manager leads the team of teachers and educators.

This network is licensed to provide education and care for up to 50 children from infancy to school age, mostly in South and Central Auckland. Half of the 16 children currently enrolled are Indian. The Kuddles' philosophy is to provide a nurturing and caring home learning environment for tamariki. Staff, educators and enrolled children come from a range of cultural backgrounds.

Educators in this service work in homes with up to four children at any one time. They are supported by one programme coordinator in this network, who is a qualified early childhood teacher. The programme coordinator regularly visits educators and helps them to plan educational programmes for children. She also monitors provision for children's health and safety.

Children and educators participate in playgroups that provide opportunities to learn in large group situations. They are also involved in frequent community excursions. In addition to the learning resources provided by programme coordinators, educators can also access extra resources from the service's office.

The 2017 ERO report noted the service's emphasis on nurturing children's cultures and home languages. The review identified areas for development in relation to curriculum, internal evaluation and professional leadership. ERO recommended that the service work with the Ministry of Education to develop an action plan to improve practices. Since 2017, governance, curriculum, and health and safety practices have been strengthened.

This review was part of a cluster of 11 home-based network reviews in the Kuddles organisation. Six homes and a playgroup were visited as part of this review.

The Review Findings

Children's learning records show that children have fun, are confident, and are learning through play. They participate in spontaneous and planned experiences, and regular excursions into the community. They have meaningful oral and written language experiences, and opportunities to explore creative and manipulative materials. Imagination and outdoor learning are encouraged, as is exploring traditional and cultural activities and celebrations.

Kuddles programme coordinators work sensitively with educators to respond to infants' and toddlers' development, ideas and ways of learning. Educators provide culturally responsive programmes that nurture children's home languages and cultural identity. Most speak the home languages of the children in their care. Documentation shows children's engagement in learning and their caring, warm relationships with educators. Children's sense of belonging is affirmed and their emotional and physical wellbeing are supported.

The learning programme is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Educators are increasing their use of te reo Māori and their understanding of practices that reflect the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Educators appreciate individualised support from programme coordinators and opportunities for ongoing training, often using their home languages. They are aware of requirements, and keep good records of each child's day and routines. There is a service-wide belief in the benefits of home-based learning for children and their whānau.

Programme coordinators know the educators and whānau in their network well, and work with them in culturally responsive ways. Educators are well supported to provide programmes that prioritise learning through meaningful everyday experiences. Programme coordinators' reports show how they build educators' practice and their understanding of the early childhood curriculum, legal requirements, and bicultural practices. Playgroups provide an opportunity for programme coordinators to model good teaching practice.

Programme coordinators are improvement focused. Whole-service involvement in intensive professional development has had a very positive impact on curriculum documentation. Planning and assessment documents show educators have a deepening understanding of children’s interests and dispositions. Individual planning is recorded in children's portfolios and also electronically. These learning records reflect the culture of each child and show learning progress. Programme coordinators model ways to identify and analyse children's learning, and to nurture their interests and dispositions for learning. Home visit records show the level of discussion and support provided.

Relationships between the service managers, programme coordinators, staff, educators and parents are responsive and supportive. Parents are positive about their children's education and care, the service's multimedia communications and regular events. Parents and whānau are encouraged to provide feedback and share information with educators, other parents and the service in daily conversations, and increasingly in online portfolios and social media. Collaboration and respect guide service practice.

Internal evaluation has been a focus of professional development, and is now well established and understood. It is used to evaluate practice and inform future direction. Strategic and annual plans clearly identify priorities that guide the service to achieve its goals. These plans are carefully monitored, with a focus on continuous improvement.

Governance, management, and administration practices are sound. The philosophy and strategic plan are evident across all practices and policies. Comprehensive documentation provides clear information about the educator role. Rigorous health and safety systems provide assurance that legal requirements and service expectations are met. A robust appraisal system helps programme coordinators to reflect on ways to enhance their own knowledge and professional practice.

Kuddles leaders are committed to embedding new practices and building the capacity and skills of all staff and educators. Professional development is strongly encouraged and opportunities provided. Clear management roles, sound accountability practices and a comprehensive framework of policies and procedures, clearly define expectations for all staff and educators.

Key Next Steps

Managers agree that to embed good practices, next steps are to continue:

  • using internal evaluation to enhance service provision, and to identify the impact and outcomes of improvements on teaching practices and children's learning

  • building educators' curriculum knowledge and capability, including increasing challenge and complexity for children's learning

  • increasing leadership opportunities for staff, educators, whānau and tamariki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Kuddles In-Home Childcare & Education completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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

11 April 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 Home-based Education and Care Service


Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 50 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Boys 10 Girls 6

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

11 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2017

Education Review

October 2012

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

ERO’s Overall Judgement

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.