Little Splashes Childcare Centre - 06/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Little Splashes Childcare Centre

How well placed is Little Splashes Childcare 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 Splashes Childcare Centre is located within the Baywave Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Mount Maunganui. It is a session-based centre with a current roll of 34, seven of whom identify as Māori. This small, mixed-age centre is licensed for 22 children including five under two years of age. The centre is committed to providing a nurturing, child-initiated environment that supports children's interests and promotes learning through play.

Since the previous ERO review in 2013 there have been a number of staff changes and the centre now operates under the organisational umbrella of Bay Venues Ltd. The programme manager provides professional and financial oversight, and administrative support. Little Splashes Childcare responded positively to the 2013 ERO report by developing strategic and annual plans, reviewing the centre philosophy and vision, and establishing a framework and shared understanding about self review.

The service philosophy stated aim is for children to grow up as confident, competent learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they all make a contribution. Teachers provide a calm, secure environment where a child’s sense of order, desire to be independent, and to help out is acknowledged.

The Review Findings

Little Splashes Childcare centre is welcoming to all children, parents and whānau. It provides a warm, home-like environment where children are encouraged to express themselves in all areas of play. Sensitive, responsive relationships exist among teachers, children, parents and whānau. The centre is responsive to Māori whānau and their aspirations for their children in regards to tikanga and te reo Māori.

Children make choices and feel comfortable leading conversations with one another. They work and play in a high quality learning environment. Activities are challenging, cater for a range of competencies and skills, and are easily accessible to children. Routines are well established where children are encouraged to develop social skills, and teachers role model good practices. Teachers and children have fun, as children are supported to lead learning alongside their teachers. Younger children are nurtured and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. Special features of the centre are the extension programmes such as swimming lessons and yoga. The stimulating and functional learning environment promotes creativity and self-motivated children.

An experienced, enthusiastic centre manager is well supported by the programme manager and head teacher. A distributive leadership style encourages staff to contribute their expertise, views and ideas. There is an emphasis on self review that is ongoing, responsive and focused on progress towards achieving the outcomes identified in the centre's vision and goals.

The centre is well supported by the umbrella organisation 'Bay Venues Ltd.' with administration, organisation and policies and procedures. Regular consultation has identified a need to extend centre hours and enhance the outdoor environment. Bay Venues Ltd. management team is currently consulting with staff in preparation for these changes.

Teachers have a collaborative approach to planning, assessment and evaluation. The curriculum promotes effective responses to the interests, strengths and abilities of all children. Mathematics and literacy are strongly integrated across the programme. A wide range of resources is available for children to access giving them freedom of choice. Teachers value and acknowledge the language, culture and identity that Māori whānau bring to the service. They are proactive in accessing outside agencies to support children with special needs.

Parents feel well-informed and express high levels of confidence in teachers to provide an environment where each child is respected and valued as an individual. Successful transitions are supported by effective partnerships among the centre, families and schools. Centre management and staff have effective systems in place to promote an emotionally and physically safe environment for children and adults.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre management agree that there is a need to review performance management to ensure that:

  • teachers are appraised against the professional teaching criteria as required by the Education Council

  • the appraisal of the centre manager is carried out by an external registered qualified teacher

  • a more rigorous appraisal process includes formal observations and ongoing documented feedback.

A more effective approach to professional management should strengthen ongoing improvement to the quality of education and care provided for children and their families.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

6 September 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


Mount Maunganui

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

22 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 11

Ethnic composition







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

July 2016

Date of this report

6 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

November 2013

Education Review

February 2008

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.