Little Wonders Havelock North - 24/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Little Wonders Havelock North

How well placed is Little Wonders Havelock North to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The service underwent significant change in 2017, including staff changes. Strong leadership, particularly in relation to curriculum, is needed to guide staff through this next period of change. Areas requiring improvement include: developing a curriculum underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum; assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning; internal evaluation for improvement and staff appraisal.

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


Little Wonders Havelock North is an all-day early learning service, previously known as Havelock North Kindergarten. It is situated in central Havelock North opposite one of the local primary schools. Approximately three years ago the service was purchased by the Evolve Group Ltd (Evolve). In 2017 it was rebranded as Little Wonders.

The service is licensed for a maximum of 45 children aged over two. At the time of this ERO evaluation there are 20 children enrolled and seven identify as Māori.

There have been considerable staff changes since the beginning of 2017. Evolve placed a senior, experienced manager to oversee significant developments in the service during 2017. The service is presently considering developing this position for ongoing oversight of planned improvements.

The April 2015 ERO report identified that the service needed to strengthen appraisal for teachers and implement appraisal for the manager. This 2018 evaluation confirms that appraisal continues to be an area for development.

The Review Findings

Teachers work collaboratively to provide children with positive learning experiences across the centre. The physical environment offers challenges and invites children to explore and become fully engaged in a wide variety of activities.

Staff have been reflecting on how to improve the outdoor environment and how well it supports and links to the centre philosophy and vision. A particular focus has been to consult with families and whānau. Reflecting cultural competencies and kaupapa Māori perspectives demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that Māori children and their whānau experience an environment where they are acknowledged. Sustainable practices and natural resources are evident.

Children's literacy and numeracy learning are promoted. Older children are provided with a wide range of experiences to assist their transition to school.

Transitions into, within and out of the centre are managed well. The two rooms cater for different age groups. Building partnerships with local schools remains a focus for ongoing development.

Parents and whānau are encouraged to be active participants in their children's education. Staff consult with parents and whānau about their aspirations for their children's learning. They work positively to build respectful and reciprocal relationships with families. Further work is planned to engage families in giving feedback on centre practices.

Children experience a sense of belonging. They see themselves through photographs and artworks displayed throughout the rooms. Teachers are responsive to children and actively promote peer interactions to support learning. Children's talk is encouraged, accepted and respected.

The service underwent significant change in 2017, including staff changes. Centre personnel are now in a better position to focus on promoting positive outcomes for all children. The curriculum, and consistency of assessment, planning and evaluation require strengthening. Evolve has systems in place. However, teachers have yet to develop agreed practices across the service. Internal evaluation for improvement and staff appraisal requires strengthening. Strong leadership is needed to guide staff through the next period of change

Key Next Steps

Priority next steps for managers and leaders towards improving the service's performance, are:

  • develop effective educational leadership to lead curriculum design and implementation underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
  • implement a consistent approach to assessment, planning and evaluation of children's learning
  • implement effective appraisal for all staff to grow teacher capability
  • develop internal evaluation for ongoing improvement to determine the effectiveness of actions on the quality of outcomes for children across all aspects of the centre operation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Little Wonders Havelock North 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

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Little Wonders Havelock North will be within two years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

24 May 2018

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


Havelock North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 11, Girls 9

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

24 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

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.