Little Oaks Pre-School - 22/06/2016

1 Evaluation of Little Oaks Pre-School

How well placed is Little Oaks Pre-School 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 a positive learning outcome for children.

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


Little Oaks Preschool Amberley provides care and education for children from birth to five years of age. It is one of two stand-alone centres privately owned. The centre is in a villa that has two spacious areas for children. The approach to education is through the Montessori philosophy.

Since the 2013 ERO review, many areas of strength have been maintained with a few areas for improvement still requiring further development.

The Review Findings

Children take part in a wide range of interesting learning experiences. They play and learn in a calm, child-centred environment. Teachers focus on children becoming self managing to develop ‘life skills’. This aligns well with the Montessori philosophy.

Teachers carefully consider what resources to make available for children to choose from depending on their interests and stages of learning. Early numeracy and literacy learning is well integrated across all activities. There is a strong focus on developing children's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Trusting, caring relationships are strongly evident between adults and children and amongst children. Children benefit from teachers who respond positively to their interests. ERO observed meaningful interactions and purposeful conversations as teachers sought to extend children’s thinking and understanding of the world.

Children's wellbeing and sense of security are held in high importance as they move into, through and beyond the centre. Teachers ensure the transitions are well organised, carefully managed and at a comfortable pace for the child. The centre is developing good relationships with local schools.

Teachers take part in relevant professional learning. There is a useful induction process for teachers new to the centre and a mentoring programme to support beginning teachers. These teachers are well supported by detailed guidelines showing the centres expectations for learning and teaching. Teachers think deeply about what they do to support children's learning and how they might improve it.

Infants and toddlers enjoy warm, caring and respectful relationships with their teachers. Teachers:

  • are able to understand and respond to young children’s verbal and non-verbal cues

  • provide deliberate support and focus on early literacy and numeracy

  • enable children to have choice and become independent and self managing

  • use te reo Māori and include some bicultural routines, such as waiata and karakia.

The centre is ably led in a collaborative way. Leaders have developed useful systems to support the smooth running of the centre. They have high expectations for children’s learning and teachers' practices. Leaders are committed to:

  • improving the quality of education and care through on-going systematic review

  • building a shared understanding of the Montessori approach with all teachers

  • sustaining a collaborative culture and practices.

The vision and strategic plan clearly identify the centre's priorities and goals. Teachers are well supported through relevant professional learning and development (PLD). This has supported the appraisal and mentoring processes to have a strong focus on continuous improvement.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified the following aspects of practice to support the centre's ongoing improvements.

The appraisal process could be strengthened by including planned observations of teachers' practice and providing critical feedback.

Continuing to develop teachers' expertise in bicultural practices and to increase the prominence of this within the centre and learning stories.

Self review needs to be further refined to ensure an evaluative question provides the focus of the review, and to have recommendations that show what they plan to do as a result of the findings.

Learning and progress could be more clearly documented in children's learning stories. This includes:

  • more consistent identification of children's next learning steps and recording the teaching strategies used so that parents can see the difference they are making to improve children’s learning

  • gathering parents' aspirations for children's learning, recording this and showing how they are responding.

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 Oaks Pre-School will be in three years.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

22 June 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 up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 52; Girls 33

Ethnic composition



Other Ethnicities




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

22 June 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

September 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.