Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) - 11/02/2015

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru)

How well placed is Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) 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 Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) is a large, high-performing, privately-owned centre that has been in operation for five years. It provides care and education for children from three months to school age. The centre manager leads a team of two head teachers, each having responsibility for a different age group. Children from within the town of Oamaru and surrounding district attend. The centre is open from 7am until 6pm.

The centre provides children with food throughout the day. Meal times are an important aspect of the curriculum as many children spend most of their days at the centre.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the centre has successfully made further developments to:

  • self review, which has strengthened the practices
  • strategic governance and management
  • processes for planning, assessment and records of learning for children
  • management systems to monitor and grow the quality of learning and teaching.

The Review Findings

Governance and management are strong at this centre. This ensures that all aspects of daily practice are supported to be high quality. The senior leaders are empowering the teachers to use their strengths and develop their leadership skills. The leaders and teachers find the appraisal process encourages useful discussion and drives up teaching practice.

The manager spends time in the various rooms with the children and teachers, and is well informed about what happens for children in all areas of the centre. The strategic plan is well developed and guides the direction and focus areas for the year.

Self review is well understood by teachers and leaders. It is done in depth and leads to positive outcomes for children. It is triggered by identified needs. Current research is carefully considered when changes and further developments are made in response to findings. Professional learning and development is highly valued and included in the review process so that teachers are better equipped to support children’s learning.

Children benefit from an inclusive culture at the centre where their backgrounds and cultures are known by teachers, valued and celebrated. The manager has deliberately sought to appoint teachers with specific links to the Pacific Island community and with strengths in building teachers’ capability in te reo and tikanga Māori. Throughout the centre the acknowledgement of, and commitment to, Māori is well displayed and strongly evident. There is a conscious effort to introduce all children to cultures other than their own.

Children take part in a wide variety of interesting learning experiences. These include:

  • excursions to local places of interest
  • indoor and outdoor activities with the aim of developing social, emotional and academic skills
  • early literacy and mathematics concepts integrated within daily programmes
  • children enjoying caring for centre pets
  • teachers providing activities of identified interest to children.

Relationships, particularly in the infants’ room, are supportive, positive and respectful and build on children’s identified interests. Teachers communicate closely with parents. ERO observed caring, nurturing teacher-child interactions. Teachers respond sensitively to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues. They provide a well-resourced, calm learning environment. 

The systems for ensuring clear communication are well developed and implemented. Teachers are thoroughly informed about the direction of the centre. Within each room, they have developed philosophies in line with the Little Wonders’ philosophy to show the differing needs of the age groups. Parents are regularly communicated with about their children’s learning and the strategic focus areas of the centre.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that aspects of planning and assessment could be improved. After five years of development, the senior leaders recognise it is timely for them to focus more on reviewing the quality of what happens for children. To ensure that all aspects of centre operations are covered over time it would be useful to adopt a long-term view to planned self review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Southern Southern Region

11 February 2015

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 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 63

Boys: 62

Ethnic composition




South American









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

December 2014

Date of this report

11 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2011

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.