Little Chiefs Educare - 13/09/2018

1 Evaluation of Little Chiefs Educare

How well placed is Little Chiefs Educare 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 Chiefs Educare is a privately owned stand-alone, all-day education and care service, located in Thames. The centre caters for children from birth to school age in two separate age-based areas, one for children up to the age of two years, and the other for older children. It is licensed for 50 children, including up to 12 aged under two years. The current roll of 50 children includes 19 who identify as Māori.

Previously known as Rainbow Connection, the centre changed ownership in February 2018. The new owner is an experienced, fully-registered early childhood teacher. She is responsible for all aspects of governance and leadership. The new owner has maintained generous staffing ratios, better than minimum group sizes, and a high proportion of qualified, fully-registered staff. The key next steps around assessment, planning and evaluation, identified in the 2015 report, remain a priority for the new owners.

The centre states its philosophy aims to provide a child-initiated environment rich in language, that supports children’s curiosity and imagination and which empowers children to investigate, discover and create. Cultural diversity and the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand are also embraced.

The Review Findings

Children are empowered to make choices and engage in periods of sustained and uninterrupted play. They learn in an environment that values their contributions, independence and self-management skills which are supported by responsive and flexible routines. Thoughtful conversations and questioning between teachers and children contribute to children's oral language development. Teachers naturally integrate literacy, mathematics and science into children’s learning experiences.

Teachers provide a welcoming and inclusive environment. Children with additional learning and development needs are well supported through effective engagement with whānau and external agencies. Teachers are responsive to children’s emerging needs and interests. They encourage risk taking and acknowledge children's efforts and successes. Teachers use positive guidance strategies to support children's developing social competencies.

Assessment information takes account of dispositional learning. Learning stories highlight this and show the many opportunities children have to engage meaningfully in the curriculum.

All children, including Māori and their whānau, experience manaakitanga and whanaungatanga in a family orientated environment. Teachers are in the early stages of integrating te reo and tikanga Māori throughout their daily practice. They need to continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua.

Rhythms and rituals are a part of the programme which effectively supports the physical and emotional needs of children aged under two years. Respectful practices and gentle nurturing transitions allow these young children to feel settled and secure. Children in the infant and toddlers area experience te reo and tikanga Māori through waiata and karakia.

The centre owner has established strong relationships with teachers, whānau and children based on respect, trust and reciprocity. She acknowledges and responds to the aspirations of parents and whānau in order to meet the needs of their children. Her leadership approach is collaborative and a team culture is evident amongst teachers.

The centre owner provides positive governance and leadership. She has managed the transition between owners in a seamless manner. The centre owner has identified priorities and goals in a newly developed strategic plan that is strongly focused on continual improvement. Updated policies, procedures and systems are in place. Self review is valued and understood as a way to improve outcomes for children. This is an area that needs further strengthening to ensure there is shared understanding about effective self-review systems and practices. Further consideration should also be given to developing a robust appraisal process to support building teacher capability.

Key Next Steps

As identified in the previous report there remains a need to:

  • develop and implement a robust teacher appraisal procedures that align with the Education Council of New Zealand guidelines including:

    • specific and measurable goals that clearly align to the centre's strategic direction

    • targeted observations of teachers' practice

    • regular formal, documented meetings where teachers receive feedback and feedforward about their practice.

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation practices to show:

    • intentional planning for individuals and groups of children

    • the parent partnership in learning

    • progression of children's learning and increasing complexity over time

    • the value of each child's language and culture.


ERO recommends the service accesses professional learning and development to develop a local curriculum that reflects the centre's context and the requirements of Te Whāriki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Chiefs Educare 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 Chiefs Educare will be in three years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

13 September 2018

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 27 Boys 23

Ethnic composition



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

July 2018

Date of this report

13 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

December 2009

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.