Little Buddies Learning Centre - 08/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Buddies Learning Centre

How well placed is Little Buddies Learning 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.


Little Buddies Learning Centre provides all-day and sessional education and care for up to 54 children, including 10 up to the age of two years. Children attending the centre are from the diverse cultural backgrounds of the local community. Many families are new to New Zealand.

The privately owned centre operates in a purpose-built facility. There are separate indoor spaces for three age groups of children. Infants, toddlers and older children access one outdoor area.

The centre’s philosophy aims to promote the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.All teachers hold practising certificates. Many of them bring overseas teaching and cultural experiences to their roles.

The 2014 ERO report noted many strengths of the centre, including positive relationships, partnerships with parents, care for infants and an orderly environment. These areas of good practice continue to be evident. Areas identified for improvement were the outdoor environment, the quality of the programme for older children, the responsiveness of teachers to individual children's interests, and a more evaluative approach to the review of centre practices. While attention has been focused on these aspects of centre operations, more work needs to be done.

The Review Findings

Children have a strong sense of belonging in the centre and are keen to learn. They are confident and enthusiastic in their conversations with adults and with each other. Children are familiar with the routines and expectations of the centre.

Relationships between teachers and children are warm and respectful. Teachers are caring and attentive to children's needs. They provide activities and encourage children's learning by working alongside them.

Infants are very well cared for by their teachers in a calm and gentle environment. Teachers know infants well through close partnerships with parents. They are committed to responding to individual children's preferences in care routines and play. As a result, infants and teachers develop secure attachments.

Teachers provide good opportunities for children to become familiar with te reo Māori. Children confidently participate in waiata and karakia. Teachers extend children's use of te reo Māori to include words relevant to the current theme. Some teachers skilfully ensure children have good understanding of kupu Māori used during these times. This good practice helps to foster Māori children's sense of cultural identity and promote the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand for all children.

The centre is welcoming and inclusive. Teachers provide opportunities to recognise families' cultural backgrounds. Various religious, cultural and language days that are relevant to the multicultural backgrounds of children and teachers are celebrated.

Teachers plan activities related to popular themes or topics. While they do gather aspirations that parents hold for their children, teachers could be more intentional in their responses to this information. Teachers' planning and programmes need to focus more on fostering and developing individual children's interests and passions. These areas of interest could provide strong contexts through which to extend the complexity of children's thinking and play.

Records of children's learning provide parents with good background information about a particular event or group activity. Teachers record children's participation in, and learning from the activity. Most parents provide regular and detailed feedback to teachers in children's individual learning records.

The centre director is aware of a difference in understanding between parents' expectations of a more formal programme for children and the principles of Te Whāriki. Teachers have collaborated with staff from local schools to extend parents' understanding of the attitudes and behaviours that best support learning within the New Zealand education system.

The centre director has established systems and frameworks to document centre operations. It is now timely to refine and align these systems and documentation. Internal evaluation that includes robust critique of centre practices could support improvement. Using indicators for high quality early childhood education practices could help to ensure that effort and resourcing result in valued outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

To better implement Te Whāriki and to continue to improve the quality of provision for children, the centre manager and teachers should:

  • review the philosophy statement and identify the outcomes that the centre values for children

  • establish high expectations of the teacher's role in promoting valued outcomes for children

  • ensure that planning and programmes respond to children's individual interests and promote creativity, critical thinking and complex play

  • improve resources and the outdoor area to provide greater challenge and to support children's exploration and imaginative play

  • refine management processes and documentation, including internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Buddies Learning 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Buddies Learning Centre will be in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

8 September 2017 

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 


Mount Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

54 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 40, Girls 35

Ethnic composition

SE Asian
other Asian


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

8 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2014

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.