Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) - 21/05/2014

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

Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre (Cromwell) is well placed to move forward to promote positive outcomes for children.

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


Little Wonders Early Childhood Centre is one of eight privately-owned Little Wonders services in New Zealand. The centre caters for 50 children up to age five. Infants, toddlers and young children are cared for in three areas. Teachers value the strong links they have with other services and agencies in the wider community. Children regularly venture into the community and have visitors come to the centre. The quality of the environment is a constant focus for teachers who consider it essential to the wellbeing of children.

Since the previous ERO review in March 2011 there have been a number of staff changes. A new manager has been appointed and has been in the position for less than a year. As a result of these changes the recommendations in the previous review were not fully implemented. However, the new manager has identified what needs to be done and has begun implementing the improvements needed.

The Review Findings

Children have good relationships with each other and with their teachers. The environment is supportive and nurturing. Families are made to feel very welcome and children enjoy warm interactions with the adults at the centre.

Children are familiar with the centre’s routines and settle quickly into work and play. Parents are also comfortable in the environment. The teachers actively seek information from them about their wishes for their children and strengthen the links between the centre and the child’s home environment.

The learning programmes across the centre are currently based on teachers noticing and recognising children’s interests and building on these. The teachers in the infants’ and toddlers’ room have a good knowledge of the requirements and characteristics of this age group. Children have access to a wide range of appropriate equipment and resources that encourage them to explore. The teachers are responsive and continually consider ways to extend children’s play.

The programme for older children includes some deliberate literacy learning. Children have enjoyed exploring a number of topics individual children have introduced to the programme. Teachers have a vision to develop the learning environment so that it provides richer opportunities and experiences to extend children’s thinking, learning and creativity. This has begun to be implemented.

The manager is building a positive and cohesive team and has a strong vision for the centre. There is a shared philosophy and useful strategic plan which outlines their key next steps. The team has begun to clarify roles and responsibilities, working to the strengths and skills of individual teachers.

The manager has identified next steps for the centre's development. These include:

  • consolidating self-review practices and developing a schedule of review that covers all aspects of the centre’s operation including progress in meeting the centre’s strategic goals

  • improving group and individual planning and assessment practices so that they promote the agreed learning priorities, teaching strategies and next steps for each child

  • developing a plan to improve bicultural practices and the inclusion of Māori perspectives in programmes

  • continuing to implement the vision for improvements in the indoor and outdoor environment.

The centre is well supported by the owner who visits regularly. He is establishing a peer support system for managers across Little Wonders services. The aim is to build cross-centre relationships and the opportunity for managers to share information and knowledge in support of their centre development. ERO discussed with the owner ways to develop consistent standards of practice across the organisation, including how he receives information about developments at each centre and what managers have learnt through self review. The owner identified that his next step is to more clearly establish reporting criteria so that managers can show how well their centres promote positive outcomes for children.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

21 May 2014

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


Cromwell, Central Otago

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 36

Girls: 35

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other Ethnicities




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

March 2014

Date of this report

21 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


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.