Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot - 31/05/2019

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

Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Little Oaks Preschool Cheviot is one of three privately-owned early learning services. It is located in the small rural township of Cheviot in North Canterbury. The centres are led by a management team, consisting of two centre managers and the owner who share oversight of the services. A head teacher in each of the centre classrooms has overall responsibility for the day-to-day learning programme.

The preschool provides education and care for 30 children, including eight under two years of age. Most of the nine staff are qualified early childhood teachers, the majority of whom work on a part time basis.

The service's philosophy is being reviewed. The current philosophy supports the service's aspirations for children within the concept of acorn to oak tree, meaning children are supported as young people to grow into strong competent learners. The programme is based on the Montessori philosophy and on respect for oneself, others and the environment.

Management and teachers have responded to the recommendations from the 2015 ERO report and have made some progress and improvements. Leaders have put a range of new systems in place to improve their service.

This review was one of three centres under the same ownership reviewed at this time.

The Review Findings

Children are actively involved in the programme. The environment is well resourced and there is a wide range of learning opportunities available to children who are able to engage in sustained periods of uninterrupted play. Teachers work alongside children, inviting their participation and extending their interests.

The service values New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Since the 2015 ERO review, teachers have strengthened the bicultural programme in the centre. They are working with whānau to increase their knowledge and understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Aspects of te ao Māori are evident in the centre environment and in teaching practice. Centre leaders acknowledge the need to continue strengthening bicultural practices and ensure that this commitment is reflected in the service's philosophy, which is currently under review.

Children demonstrate independence and self-management skills. Teachers work collaboratively to support children’s learning. They are reflective practitioners who know children and their preferences well, and connect centre and home experiences. Teachers have respectful and supportive relationships with children and their whānau, and they provide children with a settled, well-managed environment. Children's relationships demonstrate tuakana teina, with older children helping younger ones. They are proud to share their learning with others, and they cooperate well to achieve success in their work and play. This is helping children to build positive relationships and a sense of wellbeing.

Children up to the age of two years benefit from caring teachers who promote a calm and peaceful environment. Children are well supported in their care routines. The environment is warm, welcoming and inclusive, fostering each child to develop a sense of belonging. Teachers work respectfully and flexibly, and base their planning on children's emerging interests and their individual stages of development.

Transitions into and within the centre are well managed to meet the needs of children and their families. There is a strong relationship with the local kura. Supporting families through the transition to kura is a strength of the centre. Older children experience a programme that incorporates visits to the local kura and regular visits out in the local community. This is helping to provide children with broader opportunities to learn about their local area and begin to make sense of their world.

Teachers are assessing the usefulness of their current assessment and planning processes, and are looking at ways to improve intentional teaching and learning records. Children with priority learning needs are identified and planning is put in place to support them. Teachers need to make visible how they gather and use parents' aspirations for children’s learning and show how learning intentions are shared with and used by the team. They need to continue to develop ways to ensure children's ethnicity and culture are visible in learning stories.

The service is governed and managed by a team of leaders with high expectations for teaching practice and children's learning. The owner provides high quality resources and equipment that invite children's participation and are relevant to children’s interests and learning. The managers and owner work collaboratively with the aim of establishing consistency across the service and ensuring that best practice is identified and shared.

Leaders are improvement focused and have developed a range of systems and processes to support centre practices. A new appraisal process has recently been introduced and leaders are supporting teachers to become familiar with it.

The service is well placed to embed, evaluate and continue building on the range of practices established by leaders since the previous ERO review.

Key Next Steps

The leaders and ERO agree that a key next step for the service is to clarify the vision, philosophy and key priorities for children's learning. This will enable better alignment of strategic goals, programme planning and internal evaluation.

The service's focus on improvement would benefit from strengthened internal evaluation practices. This should help when addressing the next steps for improvement which include:

  • assessment, programme planning and evaluation
  • the integration of Māori perspectives and bicultural practices into programmes and practices
  • ensuring that robust appraisal processes are in place for all staff members.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

31 May 2019

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 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26, Girls 21

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

March 2019

Date of this report

31 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

May 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.