LIFE Childcare Centre - 08/04/2016

1 Evaluation of LIFE Childcare Centre

How well placed is LIFE Childcare 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.


LIFE Childcare Centre in Mangere, Auckland provides full day education and care for children. The centre is part of the LIFE Church organisation. It operates in modern buildings within the grounds of the organisation's complex. Christian principles underpin the culture and values of the centre and are woven into the learning programmes and routines.

The centre is now able to cater for 123 children, including 35 children up to the age of two, as a result of merged and extended licences. A new room has been added to provide for this roll growth. Children learn in age-related groups in five rooms. The three rooms with the youngest groups of children have their own outdoor areas, while the two older groups share an outdoor space.

The 2013 ERO report noted that improvements had been made to teaching and learning programmes and management processes. The report identified teachers' appraisal, children's input into programmes and evaluation of teaching practice as areas for development. Good progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and have a sense of belonging within their room. They form friendships and play and learn together. Children are confident and articulate. They benefit from warm and caring relationships with their teachers. Respect for children is evident in the interactions between children and teachers.

Children access resources freely and make choices about their play. Teachers provide activities and opportunities so that children are able to develop skills and learn together. They have developed helpful ways to record children's interests and their participation in the programme. In order to make the programme more responsive to individual children, teachers could now find ways to extend and build the complexity of children's play within the context of their particular interests.

Good care is taken of the youngest children. Children up to the age of two years are provided for in two rooms. The room with the youngest children is new and provides a light and appropriate space for infants to explore. Teachers form close bonds with children in their care. They provide daily information for parents about the implementation of care routines for their child. More regular recording of the development and learning of individual children could help teachers to decide how they could respond to the children. 

Children with special needs are well supported within the centre. Managers make referrals to outside agencies as needed. The centre takes responsibility for meeting the needs of these children by employing an additional teacher with appropriate expertise.

Many teachers use te reo me ōna tikanga Māori confidently throughout the day. Teachers are well supported to develop this aspect of their teaching. This good practice is likely to affirm the identity of Māori children and to promote bicultural practices for other children.

The transition of children into the centre, between rooms and onto school, has been well considered. The centre has been proactive in establishing relationships with the two schools that most children from the centre will attend. To further support parents who enrol their children at the centre, managers are planning an induction programme to share information and to ensure that expectations and programmes are fully understood.

The management team provides good professional leadership for the centre. This team works closely with teachers and children and as a result managers know their centre well.

Robust management frameworks have been established and are monitored to ensure that centre expectations are being met. Comprehensive documentation has resulted from a focus on improving management systems. Policies are reviewed on a regular cycle. Recent changes in legislation are being incorporated into the review of relevant policies.

Internal evaluation is embedded as an integral component of centre improvement. Several important aspects of the centre have been effectively reviewed. A comprehensive appraisal process promotes professionalism among teachers and improvement in teaching practices. A culture of reflection and review is now evident across the centre's operations.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that the centre should now focus on:

  • ensuring that the interests and abilities of individual children are at the centre of teachers' planning
  • finding ways to promote parents' involvement in their child's learning journey
  • reviewing the philosophy so that it acknowledges the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua and the importance of bicultural practice for all children
  • acknowledging and celebrating the rich cultural diversity present within the centre. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of LIFE Childcare 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.

In order to improve current practice, ERO recommends that the governing board take immediate steps to improve conditions for children and teachers by ensuring the temperature in rooms is comfortable and there is sufficient shade in outdoor areas.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of LIFE Childcare Centre will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 April 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 


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

123 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       51%
Boys      49%

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

January 2016

Date of this report

8 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

February 2013

Supplementary Review

December 2011

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.