Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) - 26/03/2019

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

Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Little Wonders Childcare (Oamaru) is part of the Evolve Education Group. It provides full-day care for up to 100 children, including 25 under 2 year olds. Children learn and play in four areas according to their age and readiness for the next area. The centre has recently developed a wilderness garden which supports nature play and the development of physical skills.

Since ERO's 2015 review, the service has been purchased by the Evolve Education Group and a new centre manager was appointed in June 2017. The centre manager oversees the day-to-day running of the service and is supported by two team leaders and a team of teachers. Most of the teachers are fully qualified. The Evolve Education Group regional manager and area manager provide ongoing support and have oversight of the service.

Leaders, teachers and whānau have developed a guiding vision and philosophy for the service that is consistent with the Evolve Education Group's values and vision. They celebrate the following whakatauki - He waka eke noa. A canoe which all may travel without exception.

The Review Findings

Positive, inclusive relationships are evident across the centre. Children benefit from respectful, caring and thoughtful interactions between each other and their teachers. They are confident to approach adults and are encouraged to be independent and self-managing. Children's ideas are encouraged, accepted and respected.

The centre environment effectively provides children with variety and challenge. Children take part in a wide range of learning experiences. Teachers gather parents’ aspirations for their children’s learning and meaningfully respond to these. They plan relevant activities that foster learning and development for individual children and small groups. They know children in their care well and record children’s learning and dispositions in learning stories.

Infants and toddlers experience a calm and unhurried learning environment. Teachers offer them choices about what is to happen and wait for them to respond. Children with additional learning needs are well-supported and outside agencies are engaged where appropriate.

Leaders and teachers are growing their knowledge of te reo Māori and Māori perspectives and seeking and responding to the contributions of whānau of Māori children.

Collaborative and respectful leadership recognises and uses the strength of teachers, parents and whānau to support learning. This is highly evident in the development of understanding of different cultures and the acknowledgement of local environmental opportunities. Parents provide strong support for the centre in these two areas.

A range of communication strategies ensure that parents and whānau are meaningfully engaged in their child's wellbeing and learning. Parents and whānau are regularly asked for their views about important matters related to the service's programmes and practices.

Transition into, within and beyond the centre provides children and parents with some confidence and security around these changes.

The Evolve Group has supported the centre well by providing a number of new initiatives and improved systems and practices that promote positive outcomes for children. The centre has a good framework to ensure internal evaluation is happening at all levels. The strategic plan gives a clear direction for the future and alignment can be seen through all internal evaluation processes.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the leaders and teachers are to:

  • ensure that reporting at all levels is evaluative rather than descriptive

  • fully embed the recently developed appraisal system to ensure a high quality appraisal process.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

26 March 2019

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 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 46

Boys 53

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

26 March 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

February 2015

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.