Mini Miracles Educare Ltd - 24/01/2018

1 Evaluation of Mini Miracles Educare Ltd

How well placed is Mini Miracles Educare Ltd 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.


Mini Miracles Educare is a privately owned centre providing all-day education and care for children from birth to school age. The centre is one of four under the same ownership, and operates three age-specific areas in purpose-built facilities. It is licensed for 47 children, with a maximum of 16 aged under two years. The current roll is 55, includes 18 children who identify as Māori.

The owner/director retains responsibility for governance matters, including employment, financial and property management, setting the strategic direction, and a policy framework to meet legislative requirements. She is supported by a regional manager, who is also the manager for this centre. This manager has overall responsibility for professional leadership. A recently appointed supervisor has responsibility for day-to-day operations including planning and assessment. There have been many changes to the teaching team, but the centre retains a high proportion of qualified staff.

The centre philosophy emphasises the establishment of genuine relationships between teachers, children and their families. Children’s unique talents, skills and interests are to be developed by quality teachers. The centre seeks to build links with their wider community. Very young children will have one teacher for their primary care.

The owner responded effectively to the recommendation in the 2014 ERO report about development and documentation of a strategic and annual plan. However other recommendations related to curriculum planning and evaluation, self review, appraisal and professional development programmes remain areas for significant further strengthening.

The owner/director has sought external advice to improve the quality of service provided by centre, and this approach now needs to be strengthened and extended.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are made to feel welcome at the centre. Teachers build affirming and encouraging relationships with children and foster a sense of belonging and well-being through shared celebrations and activities. However, adult-led centre routines often interrupt children's opportunities to choose and sustain their own play. This interruption results in significant disengagement and frustration for some children, especially in the preschool area.

Teachers recognise behaviour management as a priority, but staff have not yet had appropriate positive guidance professional development and support in order to develop effective behaviour management strategies. An important next step is for centre staff to review the opportunities for sustained child-initiated learning through meaningful play. This review should include the role of routines in promoting children’s self-management and social competencies.

Infants and toddlers have their own play space to safely explore. Teachers use a gentle and calm tone of voice to greet very young children, helping them to settle quickly. Parents are welcome to stay and share important information about their child's home routines with teachers. However, the primary care process was not highly evident. Some care routines, and infant's access to outside play areas, require closer monitoring. Very young children have limited opportunities to interact with natural materials either in the indoor or outside play areas. Children can move easily between the infant and transition rooms, and this supports the well-managed transition at an appropriate time for each child.

The curriculum requires strengthening to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Teachers have recently extended the process for gaining parent aspirations for each child. They are beginning to develop ways of using these aspirations, along with current observations, to guide programme planning to respond to children's interests and strengths.

There is limited evidence of opportunities for child-led learning. Children's ongoing access to several significant areas of the curriculum and support resources are mainly adult controlled. The current transition to school programme emphasises skills recommended by local new entrant teachers. Literacy and mathematics learning needs to be fully integrated within the context of meaningful play and a stronger focus on developing children's learning dispositions.

Teachers prepare and share assessment portfolios, increasingly online, and these reflect mainly their voice and interpretation of children's learning and development. There is limited evidence of documented guidelines or processes to support teacher assessment practice. An important next step is for the centre to plan and implement professional development for teachers related to current good practice in early childhood education.

Māori children and their whānau experience genuine relationships of care and support. The commitment of the staff to use te reo Māori for karakia, waiata and simple instructions, and their respect for tikanga Māori in daily operations is evident. The supervisor and teachers recognise the importance of strengthening existing culturally responsive practices and operations. This will involve the development of a relevant local curriculum and a robust review of how the language, culture and identity of Māori, and other ethnic groups, is valued and celebrated.

The owner/director works closely with the regional/centre manager to bring a shared philosophy and direction to the four centres. There is a commitment to supporting families in need of additional help, and this is reflected in the provision of shoes, clothes and foods as required, and subsidised costs to support equity of access to education and care. Parents appreciate this help, and have remained loyal to the centre, even through a period of considerable staff changes.

An important challenge for the owner/director is the lack of robust evidence-based quality assurance reporting to inform strategic decision making. The strategic and annual plans are predominantly input actions with little specific indication of desired positive outcomes for children, related to good early childhood education principles. Self-review processes focused on ongoing improvements to the service, are not evident.

The appraisal process for the regional/centre manager does not meet current requirements of the Education Council of New Zealand. There is limited evidence of a planned programme of leadership support and development for centre leaders and the supervisor.

Key Next Steps

The owner/director and ERO agree that urgent next steps for the centre include:

  • implementing a rigorous evidence-based quality assurance reporting system to better inform strategic decision making

  • ensuring that the appraisal process for the regional/centre manager meets Education Council requirements

  • developing, implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of a structured professional learning and development programme for centre leaders related to current good practice in early childhood education.

These steps are necessary to achieve sustainable improvement in the quality of education and care provided for children at the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mini Miracles Educare Ltd 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to professional leadership, self review and performance management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • curriculum leadership that demonstrates an understanding of children's learning and development, and a knowledge of relevant theories and practice in early childhood education

  • curriculum experienced by children that provides a range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend their learning and development - both indoors and outdoors

  • documented self-review process to help the service maintain and improve the quality of its education and care

  • ensure appraisal of regional/centre manager meets current legislative requirements of the Education Council Aotearoa New Zealand.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C4, C9, GMA6, GMA7]

In order to improve current practice, the early childhood service should:

  • ensure the system for monitoring children’s sleep is implemented

  • ensure that infants have access to outdoor space.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008]

Development Plan Recommendation

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Mini Miracles Educare Ltd will be within two years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

24 January 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


Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

47 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 28 Boys 25

Ethnic composition

South East Asian
Other Asian


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

November 2017

Date of this report

24 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2014

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.