Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot - 13/10/2015

1. Evaluation of Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot

How well placed is Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot 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 Oaks Preschool Cheviot is located in the rural township of Cheviot. It was previously called the Cheviot Early Learning Centre. It is a small sized centre located in a renovated building with a separate nursery space for babies and toddlers. Teachers use the teaching spaces in a flexible way providing good opportunities for the younger and older children to interact together throughout the day.

The centre’s programme is based on Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum and Montessori education practices.

Most of the teachers are fully qualified in early childhood education. The owner has another centre in a nearby town. Managers and teachers are making good use of links between the two centres to share professional support and expertise. The centre works in collaboration with other education providers and is part of a cluster working together with local schools.

Managers and teachers have responded well to ERO’s previous recommendations and made improvements to self-review and appraisal practices.

The Review Findings

The Montessori-focused programme strongly supports children’s independence and self-management skills. The licensee and teachers provide children with a calm, settled, and well-organised environment. The recently reviewed and highly visible centre philosophy provides guidance for teachers, with children and whānau.

Children follow their interests and spend long periods of time on activities of their choice. They have a wide range of learning experiences that have meaningful links with their local community. Children also have many practical opportunities to learn about sustainable practices such as gardening and recycling.

Teachers provide many appropriate opportunities for the under two-year-old children to be part of the programme with the older children. They actively guide children in relating successfully with others.

Teachers know children well. They have warm and nurturing relationships with children and their families. Teachers effectively support and extend children’s learning. They have effective communication systems to share children’s learning among teachers. Teachers have supportive interactions with children. Meaningful conversations engage and help children extend their oral language.

The curriculum includes increased bicultural practices. Managers are making good links with the local school. These links help support and strengthen bicultural practices. Teachers are currently being supported by a staff member, who has strengths in te ao Māori, to further develop their understandings and confidence.

Partnerships with whānau are a key focus of the centre’s philosophy and practice. Teachers:

  • keep parents well informed about centre events and programme planning
  • seek parent aspirations to inform centre decisions and be involved in their children’s learning
  • provide additional guidance and access to community resources, to assist families who need additional support.

Flexible transition into, within and beyond the centre is well planned and managed and follows the child’s pace. The manager is developing worthwhile links and closer relationships with the local school to support children transition to school.

The managers have developed a well -defined team culture and a collaborative approach to support children’s learning. They seek additional and appropriate support for children at risk of not achieving and implement a range of strategies to support these children and their families.

The managers work collaboratively with staff and value and make good use of teachers' strengths. They also make effective use of external professional development to help build governance and management systems.

Long and short-term planning clearly identifies the service’s priorities and associated goals towards achieving its vision. A systematic approach to self-review is resulting in positive outcomes for teaching and learning. Leaders are currently trialling new formats to further improve their strategic planning.

Key Next Steps

The centre managers, and teachers have identified and, ERO agrees, that a next step is to further extend bicultural practices across the curriculum, including making these more visible in planning and assessment practice.

ERO noted that teachers have planning discussions that are well documented to show a rich understanding of individual children’s learning. They should now consider ways that this information could be more clearly shown through children’s learning journals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot 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 Oaks Preschool Cheviot will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

13 October 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



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 8 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26

Boys 24

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



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 2015

Date of this report

13 October 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

December 2008


Education Review

December 2005

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.