McKenzie Centre - 23/01/2020

1 Evaluation of McKenzie Centre

How well placed is McKenzie Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

McKenzie Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.


The McKenzie Centre is located in Hamilton West and operates under the McKenzie Centre Trust. The Trust’s mission statement is to ‘help children under six years old with special needs, to realise their potential by providing an early intervention service that is child centred, play based and family/whānau focused'. The centre is licensed for 35 children including five under the age of two years. The current roll of 131 children includes 34 who identify as Māori.

Family, whānau and caregivers attend weekly sessions with their child. While attending the McKenzie Centre, children also attend other early childhood services. A range of administration, education and health professionals work with children and families. The centre has had a positive reporting history with ERO.

Since ERO's 2016 evaluation, management and teachers have undertaken professional development to respond to children's language, culture and identity as Māori, strengthen appraisal processes and develop a regular cycle of curriculum review.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a range of effective specialised teaching and learning strategies to enable them to engage and learn. Flexible routines support children's individual needs. Children up to the age of two years are supported in a calm and unhurried environment. They have easy access to well-resourced indoor and outdoor areas where exploration is encouraged alongside their parents, siblings and early intervention specialists. Positive relationships are fostered with whānau, the community and external healthcare agencies. Effective transitions into and out of the centre support children's confidence and sense of belonging.

Children are actively engaged in a programme that is highly responsive to their needs and interests. They benefit from accepting and caring relationships including the professional support and guidance provided by early intervention specialists. The well-resourced learning environments reflect the language, culture and identify of both Māori, Pacific and other ethnicities. The understanding of tikanga Māori has encouraged a strong sense of connectedness and belonging for both children and whānau. Early intervention specialists now need to further incorporate this knowledge into the centre's curriculum and strengthen their delivery of te reo Māori to support this.

Early intervention specialists have a deep understanding of each child as a unique learner. Oral language, literacy, numeracy and science are very well supported to grow children’s knowledge and understanding. Individualised planning strongly reflects children’s individual needs and progress in a range of contexts. Assessment incorporates multiple perspectives including those of children and whānau to contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. Children's needs are individually planned for in a specialised inclusive environment.

Leadership effectively promotes a shared understanding of the philosophy, vision and goals of the centre. They are highly reflective and thoughtful about learning opportunities to further meet the needs of each child. Leaders have developed a strongly collaborative approach and have created a positive team environment. A culture of improvement is continuing to build early intervention specialists' professional practice to support all learners.

Internal evaluation is improvement focused and includes ongoing consultation with families and whānau. Further emphasis should now be placed to measure the effectiveness of the internal review with a focus on learning outcomes for children. There is clear alignment between the regional strategic direction and centre annual plans. The appraisal process supports early intervention specialists to inquire into strengthening their practice, supported by regular and ongoing coaching and mentoring. Initiatives to remove barriers to education and support wellbeing for children promotes equity for all learners.

Review processes are well established and have been used to inquire into aspects of practice. Parents actively contribute to internal review. Their views are gathered, responded to and highly valued. Early intervention specialists have made good use of self review to make changes to the environment and resourcing to improve inclusive practices. The organisations philosophy, vision and goals promote positive learning outcomes for all children.

Key Next Steps

The centre should continue to:

  • strengthen teacher confidence in the daily use of te reo Māori to support already established tikanga practices

  • incorporate and embed local knowledge and histories into the centre-based curriculum

  • use internal evaluation to further explore changes in teaching practice and consider how well these changes contribute to improved learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of McKenzie 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.

Since the onsite phase of the review, the service has provided evidence to ERO that addresses the areas identified and discussed with the service.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

23 January 2020

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

35 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 80% Female 20%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other Asian

Middle Eastern

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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

23 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2016

Education Review

April 2013

Education Review

May 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.