Little Wonders Childcare (Aoraki) - 06/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Childcare (Aoraki)

How well placed is Little Wonders Childcare (Aoraki) 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.


Children at Little Wonders Childcare, Aoraki are cared for and learn in five separate areas that respond to the needs of infants, toddlers and young children. The service is licensed for 100 children, including up to 40 children under two years of age. The service provides meals for the children.

This service is one of several owned privately by the Little Wonders Childcare group. A director, centre manager, and two head teachers guide the operation of this service. Most of the staff are registered teachers.

The service's first ERO evaluation in 2015 reported that systems and practices were not effective and centre leadership needed greater support from the owner. The director and centre leadership responded well to ERO's report. The director and Ministry of Education provided significant resourcing to support leaders and teachers to develop and strengthen teaching and learning, and build sustainable practices.

The service is now well placed to sustain what is going well and continue to make improvements.

The Review Findings

The new centre manager and leaders have high expectations for teaching and learning in support of the philosophy and core values. Leaders and teachers, in 'collaboration' with families, support the 'growth' of each child, to show 'respect' and have 'fun' in their learning.

The service priorities are evident in teachers' planning and children's learning experiences. Teachers engage in respectful and responsive interactions with children to build a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging. Children under two years of age benefit from close, nurturing relationships with teachers who are responsive to the verbal and non-verbal cues of very young children. 

Children benefit from the way teachers foster the qualities of friendship, kindness and resilience when new learning occurs. Teachers have clear expectations for behaviour. Children engage confidently in activities as individuals or in groups. Children take part in a wide range of interesting learning experiences that include a focus on exploration and building their independence. Their transitions into, through and beyond this service are well supported by leaders and staff.

Teachers gather and respond effectively to the aspirations families and whānau have for their children. Leaders and teachers ensure there is effective, regular, two-way communication with families and whānau.

Teachers plan a 'learning pathway' for each child. They identify each child's interests, needs and next steps, then deliberately build on this knowledge to extend children's learning. They make effective use of a range of well-resourced, indoor and outdoor learning environments for children to have varied, interesting and enjoyable experiences.

Māori children are well supported to be confident and experience success. Manaakitanga is particularly evident in the centre. Tamariki and their whānau have their identity acknowledged by the inclusion of Māori language and culture in children's learning programmes. All children learn about aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand's unique bicultural heritage.

Pacific children, children from other ethnicities and children with additional needs are well supported.

Leaders are building a collaborative teaching team. There is a centre-wide culture of improvement for the benefit of children. Leaders and teachers reflect thoughtfully about their practices. Leaders expect teachers to know what children could learn, plan how to respond, and record the difference teachers make as a result. The next step to improve practice is for teachers to more consistently evaluate the impact of their teaching on outcomes for children.

Effective induction, mentoring and appraisal systems support teachers in building their own professional practice. The service benefits from ongoing and well-planned professional learning and development. The director is very supportive of the service's leadership and provides significant resourcing to continue to build leadership capability.

The director has strengthened governance practices. He provides clear strategic direction for this service's operation and vision for the future. Annual planning shows clearly what is to be done to achieve the service's goals. The director's planned improvements to processes for monitoring and reporting against the annual and strategic plans should provide better evaluation of impact. A key next step is to ensure the commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is evident in strategic planning.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps are for leaders and teachers to:

  • continue to strengthen the consistency of teachers' planning, assessment and evaluation

  • ensure a commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is evident in the service's long-term planning and increasingly evident in the philosophy in action

  • continue to strengthen and embed internal evaluation at all levels of service operation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Childcare (Aoraki) 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 Wonders Childcare (Aoraki) will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

6 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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 40 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 58%

Girls: 42%

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

April 2017

Date of this report

6 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

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.