Little Pearls Educare Centre - 22/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Pearls Educare Centre

How well placed is Little Pearls Educare Centre 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 Pearls Educare Centre is a community established, non-profit childcare service in Mount Albert. The centre is owned by a non-profit organisation that works to celebrate diversity and to support integration between cultures in New Zealand. The foundation's advisory group supports Little Pearls' current and on-going projects and provides feedback about the centre. This is the centre's first ERO review.

The centre is licensed for 65 children between three months and five years of age and provides both sessional and full day care. Children represent many cultures including high numbers from Asian and Pacific backgrounds. Many of the children have English as an additional language. Staff members have been deliberately selected to match these diverse cultural backgrounds.

The philosophy for the centre clearly states the commitment of the centre management team to high quality care and education for children in a calm and loving environment. Their intentions include strong, reciprocal partnerships with families and a sense of 'home-from-home' for all through respectful, compassionate and supportive relationships.

The centre operates in a modified house that has been substantially altered to provide appropriate playing spaces for children. The playground is spacious and naturally shaded by trees. The infants and toddlers have a separate outdoor playground accessible from indoors. Children are grouped according to age in two rooms. A third room, for the older children has recently been added to the building.

The majority of staff are fully qualified and registered teachers. Centre leaders are the manager and supervisor who both hold teaching qualifications and registration. 

The Review Findings

Children are warmly welcomed into the centre and settle quickly to play with friends. Teachers work closely with children and demonstrate good understanding of children's needs. Parents/whānau also demonstrate a sense of trust and partnership with teachers. All staff in the centre enact the vision and philosophy for the centre through these relationships.

Children are engaged in the programme, making decisions about their play from the accessible resources and from activities and experiences provided by teachers. Children play both indoors and in the well-arranged outdoor space. There are high levels of conversation between children and clear evidence of delightful tuakana/teina relationships. Children generally play in peaceful and collaborative ways. Teachers are beginning to identify and respond to children's interests and capabilities. They are passionate about their work with children.

Additions to the playroom include resources that support children's understanding of the digital world. Teachers make good use of digital technologies to enhance children's knowledge, and to share previous experiences of children's play away from the centre. Teachers and families communicate and share children's learning with family members online.

Centre management and staff are determined to continue to introduce te ao Māori (the Māori world view) into the centre curriculum through te reo me ona tikanga Māori. Children also clearly understand waiata and words in Samoan.

Children up to two years of age are carefully nurtured in calm ways. Teachers work at their level, talking to children and encouraging their play. Children are responsive and trusting of teachers.

Children with diverse needs are welcomed into the centre and appropriate support from external agencies is sought. Some teachers show very effective skills in supporting these children to feel a sense of inclusion and wellbeing.

Parents/whānau spoken to during the review reported their pleasure in having their children in the centre. They commented about the care and affection teachers show both to the children and to their families. They spoke about the close personal links the managers and teachers have formed with them during home visits and the generosity of the managers during celebration times.

Internal evaluation has become an integral part of teachers' work. The established appraisal system provides opportunities for reflection and discussion about teaching practice. Teacher practice could be enhanced if the appraisal system and internal evaluation become more evaluative.

Managers are committed to promoting quality teaching and learning and to increase teachers' professional capability. Teachers are able to access a generous number of valuable professional development opportunities and to share these with other staff.

Sound policies and procedures are in place to guide the operation of the centre. Strategic and annual plans have been developed and are closely aligned. 

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for continued centre development are for management to:

  • increase the evaluative content in self-review processes and appraisals

  • continue to promote quality teaching and learning that engages children in reciprocal conversations and relationships

  • make better use of the environment and teaching strategies to encourage children's thinking, problem-solving and independent decision-making about their play

  • continue to develop collaborative practices across the centre and promote leadership opportunities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Pearls Educare Centre 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 Pearls Educare Centre will be in three years.

Violet Tu'uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

22 June 2017

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 


Mt Albert, Auckland

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 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 32 Boys 30

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 2017

Date of this report

22 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


No previous ERO reports

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.