Little Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare - 14/12/2015

1 Evaluation of Little Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare

How well placed is Little Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare 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 Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare, in Havelock North, is one of three privately owned and operated centres providing education and care. All three centres are closely connected and well supported by a director of operations.

The kindergarten operates Monday to Friday from 7:15am until 5:30pm. It is licensed for 30 children including nine aged up to two years. The current roll of 44 includes eight children who identify as Māori. Almost all staff are qualified, registered teachers.

Opportunities for children to move freely between the indoor and outdoor environment in a mixed age setting are provided. There are plans to develop a separate outdoor area for children up to two years.

The team leader oversees the kindergarten and works closely with the director of operations.

The July 2013 ERO report identified that the centre required further support to improve. Areas identified included reviewing the centre philosophy and curriculum; assessment and planning; employment policies, procedures and practices; and self review and evaluation.

Since the previous ERO report, management and staff have developed a robust model for assessment, planning and evaluation; self review, and staff appraisal. These are well implemented and support teacher’s professional growth.

The centre philosophy was recently reviewed to strengthen the commitment to providing quality care and education in a safe, respectful and embracing environment.

Since the previous ERO report, the centre has had considerable professional development with external support. This, and the commitment from staff, has resulted in significant progress which has contributed to improvement and a culture of reflective practice.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the Little Guppies centres.

The Review Findings

Children settle into a calm, welcoming and inviting environment where there is a clear focus on whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. Routines support children’s sense of belonging and enable them to participate in leadership and tuakana teina opportunities.

Infants and toddlers are nurtured and encouraged to explore their surroundings. Attentive teachers respond promptly to children’s requests. Responsive care giving supports the infants’ and toddlers’ needs for strong and secure attachments. There are open spaces for those children not yet mobile.

Children spontaneously engage in a range of child-initiated, play-based experiences. Teachers provide learning opportunities that are relevant and interesting. Children play harmoniously alongside their peers. Adults play and work alongside children, supporting their developing skills and extending their thinking and language. Decision-making is increasingly informed by assessment, reflection and teacher inquiry.

Teachers recognise the importance of oral language and children’s first language in growing children’s sense of belonging and development. They engage children in conversations, ask open questions, encourage their questions and opportunities to inquire and provide authentic experiences for them.

Teachers are respectful and affirming in their relationships with children and their families. Children are involved in decisions that affect them. Staff understand the importance of relationships and working collaboratively to determine parents' aspirations and expectations for their children. They use this knowledge to inform and enhance the programme.

Teachers work closely with the families of children identified as having additional needs. External agencies, families and centre staff work successfully together to support the progress and development of these children. An inclusive culture is evident in the centre.

Children and their families are supported as they transition into the kindergarten. Parents are valued partners in their child’s learning. Positive links with local schools, and the centre programme support children’s readiness for continued learning. The centre has plans to strengthen this.

Significant progress has been made to address how management and staff support Māori success as Māori, and how they respond to parents' wishes for their children’s education. Teachers are supportive of children’s cultural heritages. The centre environment provides for Māori learners and promotes their culture. The dual cultural heritage of Aotearoa is acknowledged through waiata, karakia and te reo Māori. Teachers are making links to whānau aspirations.

Teachers have developed suitable guidelines for a coordinated and consistent approach to assessment, planning and evaluation. They identify and respond to individual children’s interests and challenge their learning. Teachers’ professional discussions are improving the quality of assessment narratives.

Attractively presented profiles clearly demonstrate children’s progress and development in their learning. Well-displayed planning stories are shared with children and adults. This contributes to more collaborative team sharing about children’s learning.

The philosophy has been reviewed to focus on the provision of care and education for children aged under two years. This is evident in practice and reflects the beliefs of staff, whānau, and children. Teachers provide an education and care programme, based on children’s emerging strengths and interests.

Teachers bring knowledge, culture and a range of experiences to the kindergarten. They work well together to enhance outcomes for children.

Self review is contributing to positive learning outcomes for all children. Teachers reflect on their practice and are focused on continual improvement. They have developed an appropriate model of internal review as a result of external support. These reviews have resulted in improvement to centre practice. They will be further enhanced as teachers further develop and embed the practice of evaluation.

Work has been undertaken by the director and team leaders to better align systems and processes.

Clear direction and expectations are now in place to support consistency of positive outcomes for children. Teachers’ individual appraisal goals are aligned with Little Guppies goals and centre wide strategic goals. Professional learning opportunities contribute to collaborative teaching and understanding of effective teaching and curriculum.

Key Next Step

Teachers are focused on improving outcomes for children. An appropriate next step is to strengthen self-review practices to be more evaluative to ensure teachers enquire into their practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare 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 Guppies Private Kindergarten & Childcare will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 December 2015 

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 


Havelock North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 9 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 21

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


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

October 2015

Date of this report

14 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2013

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.