Magic Garden Over 3.5's Care & Education Centre - 27/03/2015

1. Evaluation of Magic Garden Over 3.5's Care & Education Centre

How well placed is Magic Garden Over 3.5's Care & Education 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.


Magic Garden Over 3.5’s Care & Education Centre on Auckland’s North Shore, provides high quality care and education for up to 40 children over three and a half years old to school age. The well established service has been overseen by the same service provider and long serving teachers for many years. It operates as one of three centres in a purpose-built facility. The centre occupies well maintained premises with very good facilities for staff. Nutritious meals are prepared on site by the centre’s cook. The service provider regards the three licences as a single entity in many aspects, resulting in administrative and operational systems that are common across the centres.

Successive ERO reports have commented on the positive and affirming relationships among teachers, children and families. They have noted how the child-centred programme nurtures children’s well being, sense of belonging and provokes children’s thinking through trusting relationships with peers and teachers. These positive factors continue to be significant features of the centre.

The centre has responded very well to the 2012 ERO report. Teachers have continued to develop their understanding of bicultural practice. The centre is forging a unique identity through a newly established kapa haka group and centre waiata developed with Māori whānau support.

The centre philosophy embraces Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and integrates aspects of Reggio Emilia in the programme. A recently designed ‘Priorities for Learning’ document guides teaching and learning. Managers and teachers are in the process of reviewing the philosophy to further embrace other theoretical approaches.

The Review Findings

Children, parents and whānau are warmly welcomed into the centre. Individual children and their families are highly respected. Teachers value parents’ aspirations for their children and include these in programme planning. Children experience caring and secure relationships within a calm and unhurried learning environment.

Children have conversations with each other and with teachers that include highly developed ideas and thinking. They share their knowledge and understanding with others and are proud of their successes. Children benefit from uninterrupted play. They explore, use their imagination, investigate and make independent choices from the wide range of available resources.

Teachers know children well. They are skilled at listening to and supporting children to extend their understandings. Teachers successfully integrate literacy, numeracy and science into the programme. They plan attractive and inviting learning environments where children’s ideas are incorporated into the programme. Children are confident and curious learners. They display a love of learning and are allowed to ‘be children’.

Teachers and children are building their skills and knowledge about Māori culture and language. Aspects of te ao Māori are integrated into the programme. Teachers acknowledge the unique place of Māori and are finding additional ways to include this in the programme.

Innovative processes for programme planning and assessment are evident. Various planning documents provide very useful records of children’s learning and development over time. Parent contributions are supported by high quality teacher reflections. Teachers can now extend their use of child’s voice in this process and also consider ways to reflect the diversity of their community in programme documents. Teachers have developed initiatives for children's smooth transitions to school. They are strengthening relationships with local schools to further promote positive outcomes for children.

Teachers’ professional capabilities are fostered through appraisal, distributed leadership and ongoing professional development. Teachers are reflective, work collaboratively and benefit from the owner/manager’s effective professional leadership. They are dedicated and improvement focused.

The owner/manager has very effective management practices, policies and procedures to inform centre operations. Self review is robust and guides decision making. Parent and community partnerships are integral to the centre. Parents have the opportunity to contribute to self review across the centre. A centre focus on community involvement and valuing families underpins centre operations.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager and ERO agreed that teachers could continue to:

  • embed practices for reflection and evaluation of their teaching on outcomes for children
  • enhance bicultural knowledge and practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Magic Garden Over 3.5's Care & Education 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Magic Garden Over 3.5's Care & Education Centre will be in four years.

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 March 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


Northcross, 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 20 Girls 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



other European







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 2015

Date of this report

27 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012


Education Review

February 2011


Education Review

October 2007

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.