Matata Early Learning Centre - 16/03/2015

1 Evaluation of Matatā Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Matatā Early Learning 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.


Matatā Early Learning Centre is situated adjacent to Matatā Public School in the coastal town of Matatā, west of Whakatāne. The centre provides full-day education and care for children from birth to school age in a mixed-age environment. It is licensed for 30 children including up to 10 under two years old. Infants and toddlers have designated sleep and safe play areas if needed. Within the current roll of 30, ten children identify as Māori. The centre operates under the umbrella organisation, CNI Early Education Services Trust (managed by Central Kids Kindergartens).

Since the 2011 ERO review, there have been a number of staff and leadership changes. At the time of this 2015 review, the centre manager had been in an acting role for most of 2014 and was continuing to lead the centre. Over 80% of staff are qualified teachers. They have been proactive and well supported by Central Kids in sustaining professional learning and development focuses to address areas for improvement identified in the 2011 ERO report.

The centre’s philosophy places strong emphases on respectful, responsive relationships and a loving, nurturing environment that promotes a life-long love of learning. This review finds that these values and beliefs are continually reflected in the centre’s programme and teachers’ practices. A family-like atmosphere promotes whanaungatanga, and provides children and families with a strong sense of belonging.

Central Kids provides the centre with clear operating guidelines and expectations for practice. Teachers have extensive opportunities to undertake professional development to increase their teaching capability and knowledge. Experienced professional leaders from Central Kids visit the centre, oversee the quality of the service, and provide ongoing support for staff.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from respectful, caring relationships with teachers and one another.

They are continually able to engage in sustained, meaningful play of their choice. Teachers recognise and respond to children’s interests, model effective language and communication, use positive guidance strategies to manage and minimise potential conflict, and empower children to solve problems. All children are included in learning and play activities, regardless of different backgrounds. They readily help each other to succeed and are capable, confident learners.

Infants and toddlers benefit from key-teacher relationships with designated staff. Care moments are unrushed and respectful. Teachers invite children’s participation and choice in routines, which follow children’s personal needs and rhythms. Teachers also respond to children’s subtle cues and maintain a calm atmosphere to ensure infants and toddlers feel confident to explore their environment at their own pace.

The programme is planned in response to children’s emerging interests, and teacher-led suggestions. Children feel confident about requesting resources to enhance their learning and play. Ongoing review and comprehensive whole-centre professional development about planning, assessment and evaluation is resulting in improved records of assessment in children’s portfolios that show progress over time. Teachers give each other feedback about their work and this promotes self reflection and continual improvement.

Learning environments effectively invite children to explore and revisit their learning experiences. Equipment and materials are readily accessible and include natural and everyday resources. There are meaningful and interesting opportunities to use and develop literacy and mathematics skills as well as art, music and science, which includes a sustainable approach to gardening and the care of small animals. There are many varied opportunities for construction, physical challenge and social play.

The centre manager maintains a professional learning culture based on positive relationships, open communication, and collaboration with staff and parents. Teachers are empowered to demonstrate leadership in areas of interest and strength. The centre manager and teachers have accessed a wide range of professional development opportunities to increase individual and collective capability. The centre’s philosophy has been recently reviewed to reflect the continuing development of teachers’ beliefs about best practice in early childhood education and care. Collaborative self review is focused on improving outcomes for children. Centre staff are well supported by Central Kids professional leaders.

Leaders are responsive to parents’ aspirations and concerns. Parents spoken with by ERO strongly appreciate the leadership of the centre manager and opportunities for regular communication with teachers. Parents are invited to participate in the programme as it suits them. Teachers understand children and their community well. Transition to school is assisted by positive relationships with staff from the adjacent primary school.

Key Next Steps

ERO, professional leaders, and the centre manager identify that key next steps are to:

  • continue to develop consistency in assessment, planning and evaluation
  • provide further opportunities for parents’ and children’s comments to contribute to assessment and planning
  • investigate the local historical context – including Māori traditions and legends - and include these in the programme
  • further develop teachers’ confidence in integrating te reo Māori within the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Matatā Early Learning 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 Matatā Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 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


Matatā, West of Whakatāne

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 17 Girls 13

Ethnic composition









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

February 2015

Date of this report

16 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

September 2011


Education Review

August 2010


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.