Little Splashes Childcare Centre - 21/11/2013

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 28, six of whom identify as Māori. This small, mixed-age centre is licensed for 22 children including 5 under two years of age. The centre has changed from a centre whose primary function was to provide childcare for members of the Baywave Health Club, to a session-based centre that promotes continuity and consistency for the benefit of children’s needs and the development of social and educational skills.

Since the last 2008 ERO review there has been a significant number of staff changes including a new manager who promotes a strong shared leadership philosophy. The service manager provides professional and financial oversight, and administrative support. Little Splashes Childcare responded positively to the 2008 ERO report by focusing on the centre’s direction and improving the environment, including the use of the adjoining facilities in the Baywave complex.

The service philosophy aims to provide a learning environment that is safe, nurturing and stimulating, where teachers, children and families work together to develop intrinsically self-motivated children. Staff are committed to helping children learn and develop by giving them the necessary space and time to experiment and play.

Policies and procedures are in place to promote a safe physical and emotional learning environment for children.

The Review Findings

Shared leadership is a focus of the team approach to teaching, planning and aspects of centre operations. The centre manager, along with the head teacher and teachers, has successfully established highly effective relationships within the team, and with children and their families. While the current appraisal process is based on teacher self-reflection, there needs to be more focused goals and feedback to individuals related to teaching practice.

There is a positive and collaborative centre culture where individual teacher skills and strengths are valued and well utilised. These positive and reciprocal relationships at all levels are contributing to the calm and settled centre atmosphere where children are developing a strong sense of belonging.

The welcoming atmosphere and arrangement of activities and equipment reflect an environment that values children and their families. High quality resources, both indoors and outdoors, are plentiful, attractively presented and easily accessible. This is in accordance with the centre philosophy of children being able to choose, in order to initiate their own play and learning. Children move freely between the indoor and outdoor areas and are engaged in play for prolonged periods.

The centre programme promotes the learning and development of each child. Areas of strength observed by ERO were;

  • teachers working effectively together in the interest of children
  • the development of co-operative skills such as taking turns, listening and sharing
  • teachers promoting and encouraging children’s interest in books and their participation in games and songs that enhance their language and thinking skills
  • the promotion of children’s holistic development, including excursions, swimming lessons and dance, which is recorded in learning stories and children’s individual portfolios
  • integrated learning opportunities in literacy and numeracy
  • the centre’s links to the community which are extending children’s thinking and understanding of the wider world.

A well-balanced programme is providing planned and spontaneous learning experiences for children’s growth and development. While te reo and tikanga Māori is naturally integrated into many aspects of the centre’s practice and programme, it is important that staff continue to increase their awareness and confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori.

Parents spoken to during this ERO review expressed confidence that their children’s diverse needs were being catered for. They feel well informed through regular newsletters and informal conversations with staff.

Key Next Steps

Centre management and ERO agree that important next steps include:

  • developing and documenting a strategic and annual plan to provide clarity of direction for the centre
  • establishing a framework and shared understanding about self review and how it leads to ongoing improvement
  • reviewing the centre philosophy and vision collaboratively with staff and the community.


ERO recommends that centre management and staff access professional development about self review.

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

21 November 2013

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 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 14 Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori NZ European/Pākehā Other

6 14 8

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

October 2013

Date of this report

21 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)


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.