Little Wonders (Childcare) @ The Park - 15/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Childcare @ the Park

How well placed is Little Wonders Childcare @ the Park 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 @ The Park in Newtown, Wellington, operates under an all-day licence and caters for up to 150 children, including 50 under the age of two. Eight children identify as Māori. The centre is one of eight Little Wonders services owned by the Hurst Family Group.

The centre is purpose built. In 2016, an additional learning space was added. It is co-located with a retirement complex. Together they offer the Intergenerational Program to Learn, Appreciate, Yield, Engage and Dream (iPLAYED). This arrangement promotes opportunities for the different generations to come together to interact, learn and engage.

A healthy menu designed by a whole foods nutritionist, supports the centre's priority of implementing a holistic approach to supporting children's health, wellbeing and learning.

The philosophy of Little Wonders Childcare @ the Park is underpinned by a shared vision, values and the beliefs of the parent organisation. These outline the desired outcomes for children and guide the development of the curriculum. The priorities for children's learning are clearly identified as: being involved; taking an interest; responsibility; expressing a point of view or feeling; and persisting with difficulty or uncertainty.

The Review Findings

Children are actively encouraged, and provided with time and space, to follow their interests. Their curiosity is promoted through teachers' open questions, new experiences and equipment. Children are empowered to take increased responsibility for themselves and their environment.

Children's sense of belonging is nurtured. The centre has a strong and well-considered process to build confident children as they move through, and beyond the centre to school. Effective partnerships with parents guide and support transition at the natural point of readiness of the child.

Leaders and teachers are inclusive and welcoming to all children and their families. Children with additional needs are well supported by external agencies through personalised plans, and the building of deep relationships with parents.

Effective communication with parents of children up to the age of two years focus on children's routines and parent preferences and include information about children's care and education. These children are actively nurtured and their learning is fostered.

The curriculum provides a wide range of opportunities and experiences for children to explore the world around them. The learning environment:

  • is well resourced with materials freely accessible for children

  • has a natural world focus

  • is calm, unhurried and purposeful.

Leaders and teachers are focused on implementing a bicultural curriculum. They are working to improve their confidence and competence in using te reo Māori. Success for Māori learners as Māori should be further prompted. This should include increased emphasis on te ao Māori in planning and assessment.

Respectful and positive interactions between adults and children are highly evident. Teachers genuinely listen to children to support and nurture their strengths, needs and interests. They provide good care and support when children need it.

Teachers use authentic contexts to engage children's interests, extend their learning and stimulate questioning, knowledge building and inquiry. Teachers plan well to support groups' and individuals' interests. Parents and teachers collaboratively develop individual learning plans for each child. They are strongly focused on children's problem-solving and experimentation. Continuing to grow the use of parent aspirations meaningfully into children's planning and assessment is an agreed next step.

The 'Teachers' Toolkit' gives clear guidance for high quality teaching practice. This document supports and personalises the induction process well. The centre has identified that continuing to support and develop teachers to broaden the range of strategies to engage with and extend children's learning is the next step. This should also consider how the centre expectations can underpin ongoing work to support and sustain the consistency of practice across the centre and over time.

A new process for teacher appraisal was introduced for 2016. This system provides a useful framework for regular reflection on, feedback about, and monitoring of teachers' progress in relation to their goals. Including explicit outcomes for children in this process should result in a more effective evaluative approach for ongoing improvement.

Professional development is appropriately selected and clearly aligned to centre-wide goals and individuals' needs. Leadership opportunities are actively promoted and well supported by management. The centre manager has high expectations and, through these, has built a collaborative culture focused on improvement.

The strategic and annual plans clearly identify long-term direction for Little Wonders Childcare @ the Park. Identified goals inform planned reviews to guide and build quality and effectiveness. A useful process for review is well established. This supports leaders and teachers to evaluate and reflect on their practice. Strengthening the evaluation of outcomes for children is an important next step to guide well-informed change.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the key next steps are to:

  • enhance the deliberate approach to supporting and building on Māori learners' culture, language and identities

  • promote and sustain the consistency of practice across the centre and over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Childcare @ the Park 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 @ the Park will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 February 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

150 children, including up to 50 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 55%, Girls 45%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





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

December 2016

Date of this report

15 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

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.