Minerva House - 11/08/2015

1. Evaluation of Minerva House

Minerva House How well placed isto 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.


Minerva House is a privately-owned and operated centre that provides education and care for children from birth to six years of age. The centre is licensed for 50 children who each have a key teacher allocated to them. The three programmes provided by the centre are designed to meet the varying developmental needs of children.

The centre’s philosophy and programmes combine Montessori and Rudolf Steiner approaches with Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Education curriculum.

Due to damage caused by the Canterbury earthquakes, much of the centre has been recently refurbished to a high standard. The centre’s philosophy is reflected in refurbishment decisions about the choice of natural materials, colours and use of space. Since the 2012 ERO review, the centre has also extended the outdoors space for children to use and enjoy.

Centre leaders are well supported by an advisory board, external consultants and centre programme leaders. A change of centre ownership occurred in 2013. Centre leaders have maintained the strengths identified in the 2012 ERO review and have responded well to the areas identified for improvement in that review.

The centre is part of an early learning cluster that is focused on positive outcomes for all children.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from high quality, purpose-built facilities and resources. The nurturing, respectful and vibrant learning environments for children strongly reflect the centre’s philosophy and focus on holistic learning and healthy living. Leaders and teachers value and foster children’s individuality, creativity and sense of curiosity about the world around them. Children can choose from a rich variety of activities that stimulate and encourage their thinking, language and mathematical development. They also have ongoing opportunities to engage in a wide range of dramatic, imaginative and physical exercise activities in a spacious room designed for this purpose.

Children experience positive learning interactions with their teachers and other children. Routines occur in a calm and unhurried manner. A good balance between structured and free time provides children with meaningful opportunities to enjoy group time, make friendships and pursue activities of greatest individual interest.

Babies and toddlers are well supported through respectful and nurturing interactions and relationships with teachers. Teachers are responsive to children’s individual emotional and physical needs. Learning programmes in the nursery are developed from observing children’s interests and needs. Young children in this area have ongoing opportunities to freely explore their environment and follow their own interests.

Teachers’ planning is based on observing and responding to children’s individual and group interests and needs. They make good use of regular observations to:

  • develop programmes based on children’s emerging interests
  • record children’s learning interests, progress and skill development in learning stories that their parents can access online at any time
  • encourage children’s self management and independence
  • provide interesting group programmes that are often the result of children’s suggestions.

Transitions into, within and out of the centre are very well planned and involve parents and children in decision-making processes. Parents are warmly welcomed and their feedback is valued. Children’s cultures are celebrated well, as are Māori cultural events. Teachers are gradually including more te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes and have had professional learning to support this. ERO agrees with centre leaders that this is a focus for ongoing development.

Comprehensive self-review practices at a number of levels are contributing to:

  • sustaining a culture that prioritises children’s learning and wellbeing in decision-making processes
  • strategic goals, planning, appraisal and professional learning programmes that are well aligned
  • a culture of reflection and continuous improvement to benefit all children and their families.

Leadership of the centre is a significant strength. High quality systems are in place to sustain and improve effective centre management and leadership. Clear roles and responsibilities are evident. Leaders ensure that the voice of children, their parents and staff contributes to the evaluation of aspects of centre operations. Research-based improvement is a part of planning and review.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified that curriculum review and communication processes are next steps for ongoing improvement. Leaders and ERO agree that:

  • the framework for self review would benefit from some further refinement, including adding bicultural practices into the review schedule
  • continuing to monitor the consistency of learning assessment, planning and next steps for learning is an ongoing focus
  • the formalised identification of what effective teaching might look like as an expression of the philosophy at the centre would be useful.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Minerva House completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they  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 Minerva House will be in four years.

Chris Rowe

Acting Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern 

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

50 children, including up to 14 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 37;

Boys 36

Ethnic composition

Māori 3

NZ European/Pākehā 58

Pacific 2

Other ethnicities 10

Percentage of qualified teachers
0-49% 50-79% 80%
Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

11 August 2015

Most recent ERO report

These are available at www.ero.govt.nz

Education Review February 2012

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.