Little Einsteins Educare Pukeko - 15/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Little Einsteins Educare Pukeko

How well placed is Little Einsteins Educare Pukeko 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 Einsteins Educare Pukeko is a privately owned centre situated on the northern outskirts of Cambridge and provides education and care for children from birth to school age. Ruma Pukeko is one of the three licences on the same extensive site and caters for children from approximately 3½ years to school age. It is licenced for a maximum of 40 children over two. At the time of this ERO review, there were 45 children enrolled, of whom 3 identify as Māori.

The service provider is responsible for governance and centre management. She has recently completed her registration as a qualified early childhood educator. Each of the three licences, including Ruma Pukeko, has a team leader responsible for teaching and learning in their area. In addition, the team leaders form a management team with the service provider to ensure continuity and consistency of planning and practices across the centre. Since the previous ERO review in 2013, there have been several changes of teaching staff in Ruma Pukeko.

The centre as a whole, and each individual room, are working very successfully to fulfil the key elements of Little Einsteins Educare philosophy. This is to maintain high quality relationships, provide a stimulating learning environment, reflect the principle of partnership in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and deliver appropriate learning programmes for children. The programme incorporates Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and is informed by appropriate theorists.

Little Einsteins Educare Pukeko has a positive reporting history with ERO and effectively responded to the agreed area for development related to increased use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the centre.

The Review Findings

Children develop a strong sense of belonging promoted by caring and respectful relationships with adults and peers. Centre and team leaders have established a culture in which children are, first and foremost, valued, celebrated and affirmed for who they are and what they bring to their learning. High quality teaching practice and routines support the development of children’s social competence and self management. Teachers are highly responsive to children’s physical and emotional needs.

Children are empowered to initiate their own learning and they benefit from extended periods of uninterrupted time for exploration and play. They have access to generous amounts of space and a wide range of high quality equipment, including opportunities for physical challenge and construction. Children’s experiences of the natural world include ongoing interactions with animals and assisting with edible gardens. Literacy and mathematics are effectively integrated across the programme.

A feature of the centre is the additional learning experiences for children, provided by visits, excursions and involvement in community activities. These have included contributing to community charities, an excursion to Whakarewarewa and reciprocal visits with a retirement home. Children in Ruma Pukeko also enjoy weekly French lessons.

Bicultural and inclusive practices are highly evident in the centre. The owner has funded the provision of a te reo and tikanga Māori tutor who has worked with teachers and children to build their confidence and competence. Teachers also research other languages and cultures to help their understanding and support of children and families whose first language is not English.

Teachers know children well and plan collaboratively to respond to identified individual and group interests, strengths and needs. There are highly effective assessment processes to share children’s learning and development with their families through regular informal conversations, individual portfolios and the increasing use of digital technologies. These processes are promoting parent and child contributions to learning stories and aspects of the programme. The team continues to research and implement the extended use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning.

Transitions into and from Ruma Pukeko are well considered and highly supportive of children and their families. The centre maintains strong links with local schools, ensures parents are well informed, and children are prepared and confident about starting school. Each child receives a personalised school book to record their familiarisation with their chosen school.

High levels of relational trust are evident amongst all staff at the centre. This is apparent in the collegial approach to professional development and appraisal. Teachers have opportunities to take responsibility for aspects of learning and areas of practice. Self-review processes are well established, inform decision making and are focused on improving outcomes for children. These processes could now be extended to include the planned review of broader curriculum areas. Centre leaders recognise that other areas for review are:

  • targeted professional development for the management team
  • the increased use of the natural environment to support children’s learning and development.

Centre leaders work successfully to build and maintain constructive networks with parents and the wider local community. A range of effective communication strategies are used to ensure families are well informed and able to contribute to decisions that affect their child. Parents and families are acknowledged and welcomed when they enter the centre and enjoy attending a number of centre events.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Einsteins Educare Pukeko 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 Einsteins Educare Pukeko will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

15 March 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 19

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

15 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2013


Education Review

May 2010

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.