Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes) - 22/02/2016

1 Evaluation of Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes)

How well placed is Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes) 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.


Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes) is a purpose-built centre located above commercial premises in the suburb of St Lukes, Auckland. The centre provides all day education and care services for infants, toddlers and young children up to five years of age. Different age groups are catered for in four rooms with access to outdoor play areas. Children and their families come from diverse cultures and many speak multiple languages.

The centre is licensed for 100 children, including up to 40 children under the age of two years. It operates as part of Lollipops Educare and the Evolve Education Group. The Evolve Education Group provides comprehensive policy frameworks and guidance to support the centre’s operation and development.

The centre’s philosophy is based on the belief that children learn best through respectful and reciprocal relationships with interested adults. The programme aims to foster children’s learning dispositions and interests, and to empower them to develop a life-long love of learning.

The ethnically diverse teaching team bring a variety of experiences and knowledge about early childhood education to the centre. They understand their children and their families well.

Since the 2012 ERO review a new Centre Director has been appointed. He has a strong vision and positive expectations for the centre. Staffing changes, including changes to team leaders, have resulted in a time of transition for the centre.

This is the centre’s second ERO review. The 2012 ERO report noted several performance strengths. These included the centre’s philosophy being highly evident in centre practices, children benefiting from warm and respectful interactions, the nurturing care provided for infants, and teachers’ responsiveness to children’s interests. Managers have responded positively to recommendations in the 2012 report and have developed long-term and annual planning, and worked on building family partnerships.

The Review Findings

Teachers and managers have developed respectful relationships with children and families. Their philosophy of teaching and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early child curriculum, are evident in practice. There is a need to better support children’s language development by ensuring children have frequent and relevant learning conversations with teachers.

Infants and toddlers enjoy a calm and unhurried environment. Infants benefit from individualised care and responsive attention from staff. Infant programmes and routines are flexible to cater for children’s interests, developmental stages and parents’ preferences. The centre director recognises that toddlers would benefit from teachers increasing their focus on children’s nonverbal cues to respond to their needs. Teachers encouraging more conversations with these young children would also enrich opportunities for language learning.

The centre’s physical learning environments are attractive. Outdoor areas have been carefully considered and include plenty of natural plantings. It is now timely to review and replenish all learning areas with high quality resources that are easily accessible to children to support their play.

Transitions into, through, and out of the centre are well managed to cater for children’s and families’ needs. Children have regular opportunities to establish relationships with teachers and with children in the room they will next transition to. This work to build familiarity with people and settings helps children to confidently transition to the next phase of their education.

Teachers need to continue to develop their knowledge and children’s awareness of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Recently, there has been a strategic appointment of a staff member to help teachers better understand te Ao Māori perspectives. Leaders should also ensure that each room is resourced with materials and artefacts that enable teachers and children to grow their knowledge and understandings of New Zealand’s bicultural practices.

Individual planning approaches and assessment practices have been established and generally guide programmes for children. Teachers now need to use these approaches and practices to better respond to children’s interests and to cater for their diverse needs. Planning is well documented and visible for children and parents. Curriculum documentation gives parents some good information about children’s learning experiences.

The centre director has recently experienced a high turnover of staff and is now working with a range of teachers with varying backgrounds and experiences. The challenges at this stage are to provide curriculum leadership to guide teachers and develop teamwork. The centre director should continue to develop distributive leadership approaches with staff to promote shared understandings, improve the implementation of systems and processes, and build teacher capability.

Centre managers are committed to ongoing self-review to benefit children’s learning and teaching development. Self review is resulting in positive developments in the centre’s programmes, environment and operations. Appraisal processes support teachers to reflect on and improve their teaching practices. The programme for children, and teachers’ roles in facilitating learning, are continually refined as a result of this reflection.

The centre director recognises the need for a continuing emphasis on strengthening teaching and learning through whole centre professional development in order to extend teacher knowledge and maintain high teaching standards. Re-establishing a greater focus on child–centred practices is a further need identified by centre personnel. Developments in these areas should increase opportunities for children to follow their interests and increase their engagement in learning.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified the following areas for further development:

  • deepening and strengthen self-review to enrich teaching practice
  • building professional knowledge and capability through delegation, distributive leadership and teamwork
  • strengthening bicultural understandings and practices across the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes) 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 Lollipops Educare Centres (St Lukes) will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 February 2016

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


St Lukes, Auckland

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 40 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 51 Boys 46

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

January 2016

Date of this report

22 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012

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.