Little Explorers Preschool - 30/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Little Explorers Preschool

How well placed is Little Explorers Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Little Explorers Preschool is a small centre that is privately owned and operated. The centre provides care and education in two separate areas. It is licensed for up to ten children under two years of age and 32 aged two and over.

The centre's philosophy emphasises children learning through the ongoing and active exploration of the environment. Programmes are based on Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood curriculum.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there has been significant extension and development of the older children's outdoor area. Some changes in staffing have also occurred during that time.

The centre is actively involved in a local education cluster that is focused on improving learning outcomes for children. Most areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO review have been addressed well.

The Review Findings

Children learn and play in attractive and interesting environments. They have rich choices in a broad range of learning experiences and activities. This provides them with many opportunities that challenge their learning and help them to explore and develop their social and physical skills. Children have easy access to a wide range of stimulating resources that promote learning and enjoyment of the natural world and local environment.

The centre’s philosophy is well reflected in programmes, resources and the environment. Teachers are strongly focused on supporting children’s holistic development and promoting their learning, social and wellbeing needs.

Centre leaders and teachers know children and their families well. They notice and respond to individual interests, needs and strengths. Good use is made of external agencies for children who need extra support.

Children are provided with meaningful, real-life learning opportunities within and beyond the centre environment. Literacy, mathematics and science are effectively integrated throughout the learning programme. Teachers ensure that aspects of te ao Māori are visible in the centre to support the culture and identity of Māori children.

The extended, well-designed outdoor area has significantly improved opportunities for children to learn and explore the natural world. Children are provided with a range of high interest areas to explore, stimulate their curiosity and extend their learning.

Children’s transitions within and beyond the centre are well supported and flexible to meet individual needs. Teachers work collaboratively to plan programmes for groups and individuals. The centre managers provide good support for teachers and make effective use of teachers' strengths.

Infants and toddlers benefit from positive and nurturing interactions. Teachers support children’s language development through ongoing conversations and role modelling. Infants and toddlers have many opportunities to learn through play.

A clear process is in place for identifying centre goals for improvement. Teachers and parents have ongoing opportunities to contribute their suggestions and priorities for further development. Centre leaders are responsive to parent and teacher feedback. They provide education sessions that further support parents and families. They use digital technology well to communicate with parents and provide information about children's learning.

Teachers are becoming increasingly reflective about teaching and learning. Leaders and teachers use aspects of self review to improve centre programmes and practices. Parents have opportunities to contribute their ideas to these processes. Centre leaders keep parents well informed about centre developments and planning.

Key Next Steps

To further improve programmes and practices, centre leaders should:

  • ensure that planning and assessment are consistent across teaching teams

  • make bicultural perspectives more evident within centre programmes, documentation and teaching practices

  • make sure that the appraisal process includes teaching observations, robust feedback to teachers and external appraisal opportunities for centre managers

  • develop a clear process, guidelines and expectations for self review that help to build evaluative capacity and positive outcomes for all children

  • ensure that strategic planning and goals are linked to all key aspects of centre operations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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 Explorers Preschool will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

30 May 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

32 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 27; Boys 25

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

May 2016

Date of this report

30 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

June 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.