Lollipops Educare Palmerston North - 03/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Lollipops Educare Palmerston North

How well placed is Lollipops Educare Palmerston North 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 Palmerston North is one of four early learning services in Palmerston North under the Lollipops name. In late 2014, Evolve Education purchased these centres. As the umbrella organisation, it governs and manages these services. An area manager works closely with, and provides ongoing professional support to, the centre director and leaders.

The centre is situated in Summerhill and is licensed for 50 children, including 25 children up to two years of age. Most of the teaching team are qualified and certificated. There have been some changes to staffing and to the role of the centre director since the September 2013 ERO report.

The centre philosophy emphasises the importance of providing children with opportunities for free movement, to explore nature, build community links and foster creativity, independence and selfhelp skills. There have been developments to the outdoor environments and teachers are making wider use of the community to support children's learning experiences.

The 2013 ERO evaluation identified that the appraisal process required strengthening. Good progress has been made by Evolve to respond to this area. Management supports and encourages teacher involvement in professional learning and development (PLD).

This review was part of a cluster of four reviews of the Lollipops Educare centres in Palmerston North.

The Review Findings

Children have good opportunities to lead their learning and sustain their play. Their independence and self-help skills are promoted. Children's social learning is well supported. They actively participate in centre rituals. Literacy and numeracy are suitably integrated into the programme. Purposeful learning areas encourage children's exploration and discovery.

Infants and toddlers experience unhurried interactions with teachers. A calm and relaxed tone prevails. Nurturing and respectful caregiving practices are evident. Children have many opportunities to make choices and to self-manage.

Teachers recognise the importance of building trusting relationships with infants and toddlers. Children's verbal and non-verbal cues are effectively responded to and this supports their language learning.

Children with additional learning and teaching needs are very well supported.

Portfolios show children's involvement across centre experiences. Their interests and learning are highlighted, as are ways that families can contribute to this journey. Planning makes visible for parents the current programme focus. Continuing to extend these processes to more clearly show how teachers plan for and respond is an agreed next step.

Transitions are well managed and flexible to respond to individual needs. There are established links with local schools.

An acknowledged next step is for leaders and teachers to further develop bicultural practices, then consider and respond to what success for Māori children as Māori means in this centre.

Review processes are established and have been used to inquire into aspects of teaching practice. Evolve is further strengthening its framework for review and internal evaluation. This should be useful in supporting teachers to know about the impact of teaching on outcomes for children's learning.

A planned review of the centre philosophy should be helpful in developing understanding of shared values and beliefs for teachers and families new to the centre.

Centre leaders place strong emphasis on growing and maintaining relationships and building a strong team. A culture of teacher reflection is encouraged. Teachers are keenly involved in professional learning and development to build practice. Determining the impact of these opportunities in strengthening outcomes for children is an agreed next step.

Evolve Education's 2017 strategic intent outlines the umbrella organisation's priorities and direction. Alignment of annual planning at centre level has been strengthened to more clearly focus on these priorities. This includes a useful emphasis on growing curriculum leadership to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

The area manager and centre director work well together to assist the effective operation of the centre. They provide feedback to staff about centre performance. Extending the scope of feedback to include more focus on outcomes for children and staff performance is needed.

The revised appraisal process is comprehensive, and should be useful in growing teacher and leader practice. It is clearly linked to the Practising Teacher Criteria and has a focus on teachers inquiring into their practice to improve outcomes for children. 

Key Next Steps

Managers, teachers and ERO agree that the following key next steps for Lollipops Educare Palmerston North are to:

  • further develop self-review and internal evaluation practices, to more clearly show the impact of teachers’ practices on children’s learning

  • continue to build aspects of assessment and planning processes, including how this information is used to plan for and extend individual children

  • extending opportunities for Māori children and whānau to have success as Māori

  • implement and embed the revised appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lollipops Educare Palmerston 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. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lollipops Educare Palmerston North will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

3 March 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 


Palmerston North

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 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 24, Boys 22

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

3 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 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.