Lilliput Preschool - 03/06/2015

1. Evaluation of Lilliput Preschool

How well placed is Lilliput Preschool 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.


Lilliput Preschool is a small, privately-owned centre, located in a residential area in Tauranga city. The centre provides full-day and sessional education and care for babies, toddlers and children up to school age. It is licensed for 35 children to attend at any one time, and this includes a maximum of 15 up to the age of two. The roll is predominantly made up of children who are of European/Pākehā descent and currently there are 41 enrolled.

The centre is organised into two age-group areas, one for babies and toddlers, and another for children up to school age. There are separate spaces within these two areas to allow for age-appropriate play and learning, and to provide familiarity and regular routines, particularly for younger children. A programme for four-year-old children, as they approach transition into school, provides additional early literacy and mathematical learning and responds to their interests.

The owner and supervisor endeavour to maintain consistent staffing so that there is continuity for children, and to allow strong reciprocal relationships to be established. The centre operates a system of primary care for babies and toddlers, and low teacher-child ratios are maintained across the centre.

The current teaching team works with a high level of cooperation and collegiality, in response to the collaborative leadership and management style of the owner and supervisor. All teachers are qualified and well supported through ongoing professional development to improve their knowledge and understanding of best teaching and learning practice.

The centre owner continues to provide effective management and governance. She liaises closely with the centre supervisor and interacts with all staff on a daily basis. Since the ERO review in 2012, the supervisor’s roles and responsibilities have been extended to include personnel and programme management. Under her leadership, the appraisal process has been considerably strengthened and all staff are involved in self review to improve centre operations and teaching practice.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

Management has successfully developed and communicated an agreed vision for the centre’s operation. Respectful relationships are a priority. Managers model respect and a high level of relational trust is evident amongst teaching staff. Teachers develop caring relationships with children and their families, and parents are made to feel welcome in the centre. Reciprocal communication is fostered and leaders have developed some effective ways in which parents are able to share their views and provide feedback to staff about centre operations.

Centre managers are committed to ongoing improvement, and to achieve this they have developed a purposeful self-review process. A strongly reflective staff culture is emerging. Under the well-informed leadership of the centre supervisor, teachers inquire into their practice using an action research approach. Findings are shared and used to modify and improve outcomes for children. Currently, teachers are inquiring into the quality of the learning conversations they have with children. This inquiry is informed by relevant readings and ongoing professional learning for teachers.

The programme philosophy has been recently reviewed and is well understood by the current teaching team. In keeping with the centre’s philosophy about teaching and learning, teachers work conscientiously to provide an emergent curriculum that is responsive to the interests, needs and cultural differences of children, in a caring environment. Individual differences are recognised and valued, and babies, toddlers and young children are well supported to practise and develop social competencies and early independence.

Children play and learn in rich, inviting and well-resourced environments. They have access to a suitable range of equipment and activities, and they are able to move freely between indoor and outdoor spaces, within their respective areas.

Teachers are able to clearly articulate their shared beliefs about effective teaching and learning practice for babies, toddlers and young children. They appreciate the strong and knowledgeable, professional leadership that the supervisor provides. She has worked collaboratively with them to develop a more effective appraisal process, and they now continually reflect on their practice and share these reflections with the supervisor and their peers.

There are many opportunities for teachers to discuss and improve their understanding of best assessment and teaching practices. They share and evaluate draft learning stories to improve their recognition of, and responses to, children’s learning as part of the planning process. This enables teachers to provide for children’s emerging interests and to develop links to previous learning experiences.

ERO observed the following very good teaching practices across the centre:

  • an appropriate balance of teacher-led and child-initiated learning experiences
  • unhurried interactions that allow children time to think and make decisions
  • active listening by teachers so that children feel that what they have to say is valued and heard
  • appropriate oral language structures modelled by teachers
  • sound judgements by teachers about when and how to intervene, and/or respond to children in their play.

Teachers are endeavouring to make the curriculum more culturally inclusive. They recognise the need to strengthen bicultural development by increasing their use of te reo Māori and the inclusion of contexts that reflect Māori culture, heritage and values. Some teachers are involved in tertiary studies about tikanga and te reo Māori, which is developing their confidence to lead this work in the centre.

Key Next Steps

Through this evaluation process, and with a high level of input from leaders and staff, the following areas have been identified for ongoing development:

  • leadership capacity of teaching staff across the centre
  • building more complexity into the learning through play.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lilliput Preschool 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lilliput Preschool will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 June 2015

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23

Boys 18

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

April 2015

Date of this report

3 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

These are available at

Education Review

April 2012


Education Review

June 2009


Education Review

August 2006

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.

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.