Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre - 14/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre

How well placed is Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre 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.


Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre is a privately owned service located close to the central business district Palmerston North. It is one of four centres in the Manawatu area owned, by Kids World Limited. The service is licensed to provide full day education and care for up to 60 children, including 16 aged up to two years. Currently there are twelve Māori children on the roll. Thoughtfully organised, separate learning areas cater for the needs of infants, toddlers and young children.

Since the April 2014 ERO report, there have been changes in ownership and management. Day-to-day operation of the centre is the responsibility of the centre manager, with the operational manager responsible for business operations. Six teachers are qualified and five have full certification. There are two educators in training. A development manager provides overall curriculum support for team leaders and teachers in the four centres.

The centre philosophy reflects teachers' shared values and beliefs. It aims to underpin teaching practices and 'endeavours to provide an environment where the child is cared for and educated in a holistic way'.

The previous report identified areas requiring further improvement. These included strengthening self review and appraisal, improving assessment and planning processes and building teachers' understanding of te ao Māori. Although progress has been made, refinement and improvement continues to be needed in these areas.

The Review Findings

The curriculum is underpinned by the concept that "E raka te Maui, e raka te katau - A community can use all of the skills of its people". It enables teachers to nurture and build reciprocal, trusting relationships with children and their families. Staff are enthusiastic and work positively towards ensuring practices are responsive to family needs and circumstances. 

Teachers support learners to follow their interests. They encourage children’s language development, mathematical understanding and sustained attention within child-initiated and adultinitiated activities. Young children enjoy opportunities to actively explore and participate in these experiences.

The programmes, environment and resources provide children with an appropriate range of learning experiences. Their involvement in everyday activities is increasingly celebrated and shared between teachers and parents. Leaders should continue to support teachers to establish shared understandings that determine curriculum priorities and emphases. This development should include strengthening analysis of assessment information to deepen children’s learning.

Infants are encouraged to become active communicators and explorers. Programme provision for these very young learners fosters their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Care routines are unhurried and an important and enjoyable part of children’s learning experiences.

Teachers increasingly incorporate te ao Māori into the programme as a part of children’s daily experiences. Programmes for children include Māori concepts, knowledge, customs, values and beliefs. Teachers show a willingness to explore further ways of enhancing culturally-responsive practices for Māori learners.

Transitions into the centre are flexible and responsive to the needs of individual children and families. Visits between the centre and school occur where possible. Teachers work collaboratively with parents to assist children’s transition to school.

The provisionally certificated teacher does not receive sufficient, regular mentoring. Appraisal processes have lapsed for some teaching staff. Management has identified these as immediate areas to address. ERO’s evaluation affirms this need. Appraisal should be strengthened and include:

  • appropriate leadership goals

  • the use of formal critique of teaching practice and feedback processes to improve teaching and learning

  • regular opportunities for support and professional development

  • further use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Staff understanding of internal evaluation is effectively developing. Professional training from an external facilitator is supporting leaders and teachers to use evidence systematically to review processes and practices and to reflect on the quality of teaching and learning. Strategic planning provides useful direction for centre operation and teaching and learning. Further consideration should be given to monitoring the desired objectives in the strategic plan and how these contribute to improving outcomes for children. 

Key Next Steps

Managers and teachers should continue to:

  • establish agreed teaching practice to determine curriculum priorities and emphases

  • promote inquiry into the impact of teaching practice on outcomes for children

  • implement robust systems and processes that build leaders’ and teachers’ capabilities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre 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.

To improve current practice, the early childhood service management should fully implement appraisal for all staff and ensure the provisionally certificated teacher receives ongoing, appropriate mentoring. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lots of Hugs Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 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

60 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 28, Girls 24

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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

14 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

November 2005

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.