Mamaku Early Learning - 28/03/2018

1 Evaluation of Mamaku Early Learning

How well placed is Mamaku Early Learning 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.


Mamaku Early Learning Centre is situated in the village of Mamaku, 20kms from Rotorua. The centre is privately owned and licensed for 25 children, including up to 10 under the age of two years. At the time of this ERO review 25 children were enrolled, of whom 13 identify as Māori. The centre operates a mixed-aged programme. There are four qualified early childhood teachers, including the owner who manages the centre, supported by a head teacher.

Through the centre philosophy the service supports the revitalisation of te reo Māori. It places emphasis on te ao Māori and children's development of virtues, such as peaceful relationships and respect. Since the last ERO review there have been some significant changes to the teaching team with two new teachers appointed. The head teacher returned last year after a period away from the centre. In 2016 teachers participated in externally facilitated professional development about self-review, with a focus on literacy and mathematics.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, progress has been made in assessment for children's learning. Some progress has also been made in establishing frameworks for self review and strategic planning.

The Review Findings

A broad emergent curriculum supports tamariki to develop emotionally, physically and spiritually. Teachers are attentive to children’s strengths, interests and needs and are responsive to parent and family contributions. Children are empowered to make decisions supporting them to become independent, self-managing learners.  Literacy and mathematics are naturally integrated and oral language development is well supported. Children’s cultural identities are honoured and enhanced. Māori knowledge and perspectives are naturally integrated into the programmes. Māori and all other children are supported to become confident and competent learners.

Children's learning is captured in useful, individual portfolios. Learning stories show growth and development over time. There is a good balance between teacher and child-led learning. To enhance the assessment process, consideration should now be given to strengthening the documentation of planning and evaluation for individual children. Children's learning will be further enhanced through planned support for teachers around the priorities for learning that have been identified by the kaiako, parents and whānau.

Teachers model respectful and calm practice. They build safe and nurturing relationships with children. Teachers have clear and consistent expectations for children’s behaviour. The centre philosophy focus on virtues is well enacted by teachers. Effective restorative practice encourages children to develop peaceful solutions to conflict. Teachers are responsive to providing additional resources to enable children to follow their interests and extend their learning. Children are supported to develop life-long skills to become positive members of their community and the wider world.

Children benefit from smooth and well-considered transitions into and out of the centre. For older children, a well-structured transition programme has been developed in partnership with the local school. Younger children up to the age of two benefit from tuakana/teina relationships where older or more competent children work and play alongside them. The care needs of these young children are well met. Children with additional learning needs are identified and leaders work with external agencies where necessary. Children are settled and well engaged.

A clear vision, supported by a well-articulated philosophy guides centre practice. Leaders have developed strong partnerships with parents and the local community. The service has effective systems to monitor children's physical and emotional health. Some progress has been made in the areas of strategic planning, self review, performance management and building the capability of teaching practice. These important aspects of centre operations continue to need strengthening and embedding in practice.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps are to strengthen aspects of governance and management including:

  • collaborative approaches to strategic planning, regular self review and policy review
  • the appraisal system to include regular observations of teaching practice and to follow the best practice guidelines of the Education Council
  • individualised planning and evaluation of learning, with a focus on children's interests, strengths and dispositions.


ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mamaku Early Learning 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.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to human resource management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • appointments including a review of the policy and ensuring police vetting is completed before employment commences, job description for leader, provision of professional development.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008,GMA7, GMA7A]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Mamaku Early Learning will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

28 March 2018 

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 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       12
Boys      13

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2018

Date of this report

28 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

May 2008

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.