LIFE Childcare Centre - 31/01/2020

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

LIFE Childcare Centre leaders and teachers would benefit from external support to improve the quality of teaching, the learning programme, leadership capacity and capability, and internal evaluation.

LIFE Childcare Centre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.


LIFE Childcare Centre provides full-day care and education for children. The centre is part of the LIFE Church organisation. It is licensed for 138 children, including up to 35 under two years of age. The largest groups of children are Māori, Samoan and Tongan. Nearly half of the children have English as an additional language.

The centre's philosophy upholds the LIFE Church values and emphasises acceptance and equity for all. Children learn and play in four age-related rooms. The two younger groups of children have their own outdoor areas, while the two older groups share an outdoor area.

Since the 2016 ERO review the service has re-structured leadership roles. A new centre manager and team leaders have been appointed and several of the teaching team are new. Other changes include extending the service's licence and upgrading the outdoor environment.

The 2016 ERO report identified improvements needed in planning, partnerships with parents and acknowledging the importance of bicultural practice and cultural diversity. These areas have yet to be fully addressed.

The service is a member of the Whakatipu Akoranga Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are warmly welcomed and experience positive and respectful relationships with teachers. Teachers make connections with parents/whānau and show care and concern for children's wellbeing. Parents of children with additional needs comment positively about the support given by teachers.

Infants are nurtured and encouraged to independently investigate their environment. Younger children have easy access to the outdoor area for their own exploration. Older children readily move around the centre exploring a range of activities set up for them. Children demonstrate great enthusiasm for times when they meet as a group for stories and food.

Teachers are building shared understandings about effective teaching and continue to review their practices to increase alignment with Te Whāriki, the revised early childhood curriculum. A next step for leaders and teachers is to ensure that learning opportunities encourage children to be curious and creative problem solvers.

Leaders and teachers should review provision in each of the areas of play, including science. Improved resourcing, supported by intentional teaching strategies, would help to deepen children's engagement and support them to be partners in planning their learning. Offering more complex learning challenges for older children would also support their interests and help them to guide their own learning.

Transitions into, through and out of the centre are generally well managed. Parents are kept informed about their children's participation in the learning programme. Parents comment positively about an online platform that the centre has introduced.

The governing board resources external professional learning and development for teachers. This external support is helping with change management, appraisal processes and support for new teachers. A useful strategic plan and a policy framework guide the centre's future direction. Reviewing the philosophy and aligning it with the strategic plan could further support with achieving the centre's valued outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps include:

  • seeking assistance to embed the expectations of Te Whāriki into daily practice

  • continuing to develop indicators of quality teaching practices expected at this centre, that align with the philosophy, and provide a guide for the teaching team in evaluating their practice

  • developing leadership roles and responsibilities and distributing leadership of the curriculum.

Leaders and teachers should deepen their critical reflection and understanding of robust internal evaluation in order to more effectively guide ongoing improvement in:

  • children's access to a meaningful and engaging programme, and the quality of the provision for infants and toddlers

  • teachers' assessment, planning and evaluation practices, and their responsiveness to children's interests, strengths and abilities

  • organisational culture, professional capability, and the quality of teaching and learning.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to curriculum. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • the use of assessment, planning, and evaluation that is responsive to children's learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts, to inform curriculum development

  • practices of adults providing education and care demonstrate an understanding of children's learning and development, and knowledge of relevant theories and practice

  • a range of experiences and opportunities for children, to extend their learning and development.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1,4,9.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

31 January 2020

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

138 children, including up to 35 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 50%

Boys 50%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Cook Island Māori




other ethnic groups










Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

31 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2016

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

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.