Lollipops Oteha Valley - 18/12/2015

1 Evaluation of Tuatara Preschool

How well placed is Tuatara Preschool 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.


Tuatara Preschool has served the Browns Bay community in Auckland for over 20 years. Since the 2012 ERO review, the preschool has been relicensed under the 2008 licensing criteria. It now provides education and care for up to 40 children from two years to school age. The roll is over 60 percent Pākehā and nearly 20 percent Asian.

The preschool consists of one large building that is split into distinct areas of play, some separate rooms for quieter individual and group activities, and a kitchen. All children play together but the younger and older ones are sometimes separated for special programmes.

The current staff to child ratio is better than minimum requirements. The staff comprise four qualified teachers, one unqualified teacher, a teachers’ aide and a cook. One of the teachers has full teacher registration.

The preschool’s philosophy reflects the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It notes the importance of creating an environment that helps maximise children’s engagement in their learning. ERO’s 2012 report on the centre noted strengths in the implementation of this philosophy and in the partnership being developed with parents and whānau. These strengths remain, and staff continue to make progress in addressing areas for improvement identified in the 2012 report.

The preschool has undergone significant change over the past year. It has a new manager, who was previously a teacher at the preschool, and it has a new owner/service provider, the Evolve Education Group 3. Evolve provides the centre with business management and professional management support with policy and procedures.

The Review Findings

Children settle well into the preschool. They are all welcomed, valued and included in the programme. They enjoy each other’s company and have well established friendships. Children approach teachers with confidence, and receive good levels of adult interactions and attention. They are well cared for and benefit from the centre’s homely environment. Attractive displays celebrate children’s learning experiences and acknowledge their participation in the programme.

Children show their independence and interest in learning as they play and explore activities that interest them. Much of the equipment is freely accessible, and additional resources are well labelled and displayed to promote further child choice. New weatherproofing screens have extended times when children can play comfortably in the large patio area. The top outdoor playground has been re-turfed and improved, and a “wild” garden developed. All of these positive developments enhance learning opportunities for children.

The programme includes a good amount of time for children to engage in play. During these times children develop their oral language, and their early literacy, numeracy and science skills and understandings. Such play-based learning is the foundation of the early childhood curriculum. In developing the programme, teachers have also focussed on strengthening their bicultural understandings and practices. They are becoming more confident in helping children to develop early appreciation of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Projects around celebrations and community events help ensure that Auckland’s multicultural makeup is also acknowledged.

Assessment portfolios are well presented records of children’s participation in varied learning experiences. The portfolios are now available digitally, enabling busy parents to participate in a more active partnership in their child’s learning. The portfolios include rich information to help parents understand the purposes of centre activities, and they capture children’s voices and opinions well. Teachers could now use learning stories about individual children more, to identify their interests and consider how these might be extended. They could then use this knowledge as the basis for their programme planning.

The preschool manager has effectively led staff and parents through a period of ongoing change. She has collaborated well with Evolve personnel to adapt management systems to meet new expectations. Evolve’s professional support manager has high expectations for the health and safety provision for children and adults. She also provides a professional development role, especially for provisionally registered teachers. Both the preschool’s management and its service providers demonstrate the capacity to guide ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

During the review process preschool leaders and ERO agreed that key next steps include:

  • increasing the quality and challenge of learning opportunities, especially those provided in the outdoors
  • continuing to strengthen the preschool’s bicultural practices
  • improving the way teachers use assessment of children’s learning to plan more individualised programmes
  • focusing programme evaluations more directly on the quality of children’s learning experiences
  • continuing to help parents appreciate the value of play-based early childhood education and how it supports children’s transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tuatara Preschool 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 Tuatara Preschool will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 December 2015

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


Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22 Girls 18

Ethnic composition




South African







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

October 2015

Date of this report

18 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

May 2009

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.