Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) - 15/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell)

How well placed is Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) 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 Early Childhood Centre Cromwell learn in three separate areas that cater to the learning and wellbeing of infants, toddlers and young children. This service provides a full-day provision and is licensed for up to 56 children, including 20 children aged under two.

The service is one of several privately owned by the Little Wonders Childcare group. The service receives regular support from the owner. Since the 2014 ERO review there have been a new manager and staff appointed, including team leaders. The centre manager and teachers have made good progress in addressing the key next steps identified in the last ERO report. This includes strengthening internal evaluation processes and implementing the vision to make improvements to the indoor and outdoor environment.

The Review Findings

The new centre manager and leaders have high expectations for teaching and learning leading to positive outcomes for all children. Teachers engage in respectful and reciprocal relationships with children. They support children's learning by ensuring an unhurried learning environment and provide resources that meet their interests and needs. Teachers are intentional in the way they extend children's learning. They provide children with many opportunities to build oral language and early literacy skills.

The wellbeing and learning of infants and toddlers is well supported through responsive and nurturing relationships with teachers. Teachers provide children with opportunities to hear te reo Māori and sing waiata. The leaders and teachers should continue to find ways to strengthen their bicultural practice. 

Leaders and teachers are improvement focused. They have made effective use of internal evaluation to make positive changes to improve the way they provide for children's learning. For example, the learning environment has been improved to provide greater opportunities for children to make choices, be curious and explore. The next step is for teachers to continue to embed internal evaluation.

The team have developed clear priorities for learning. These are visible in the environment, planning and assessment but are not evident in the philosophy. To further strengthen the philosophy teachers need to:

  • ensure it reflects the current priorities for learning

  • make stronger reference to the Treaty of Waitangi

  • include parents' aspirations for their children.

Teachers have developed useful systems for planning, assessment and evaluation of individual and groups of children. Teachers are increasingly seeking parent aspirations for their child's learning, and responding to these. To further strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation, teachers need to:

  • continue to embed these systems to ensure consistency for all children

  • consistently evaluate how well teaching strategies and experiences have supported learning

  • ensure that Māori children's language, culture and identity are reflected in their assessment information.

A robust appraisal system supports teachers in building their own professional practice. Teachers benefit from ongoing and well-planned professional learning and development, and opportunities to grow their leadership capability.

The owner provides clear strategic direction to guide the centre's operation, vision and priorities. Clear monitoring and reporting ensures that progress is being made to improve teaching and learning. A key next step is to ensure the commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is evident in the strategic plan.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • continue to strengthen and embed internal evaluation

  • continue to embed planning, assessment and evaluation

  • find ways to ensure a commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is evident in organisational values, long-term planning and the centre philosophy

  • ensure the current priorities for children's learning are reflected in the philosophy. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) 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 Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

15 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

56 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 33

Boys: 35

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

15 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

March 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.