Nature Kids - 30/01/2019

1 Evaluation of Nature Kids

How well placed is Nature Kids to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Nature Kids is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Nature Kids is a privately owned early childhood education and care centre situated in Hastings. It caters for children aged from birth to five years. The centre is licensed for 50 children with provision for 20 children up to two years of age. Of the 68 children enrolled 26 are Māori.

The owners are responsible for the management, administration and supervision of the centre. Three separate rooms, Ngaio, Tawa and Rata, are specifically designed for the needs of the different age groups.

The philosophy emphasises the importance of relationships and partnerships through the provision of a localised curriculum. The layout of the outdoor space encourages children to be physically active and environmentally aware. The intent of the Treaty of Waitangi is acknowledged and valued.

The owners and managers have responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the centre. They are supported by three team leaders who have responsibility for the programmes delivered in each room. A number of qualified teachers make up teaching teams. Cooks prepare and provide healthy meals for children.

The centre management and staff have responded well to the areas for development identified in the March 2016 ERO report.

The Review Findings

High quality environments effectively support the learning programme. Close and trusting relationships are evident. An extensive range of natural resources promotes children's interest and participation. The attractive outdoor area is well designed to support physically active play and encourage children to be environmentally aware. Regular excursions into the local community add richness to the programme. Children have choices about what they do and who with. They are cooperative, engaged and empowered learners.

Kaiako are responsive and respectful as they work with and alongside children. They use a range of effective strategies to support their learning and persistence in play. There is a strong focus on encouraging curiosity, investigation and communication. High expectations and consistent teacher practice supports children's social competence.

Provision for infants and toddlers is carefully considered. Primary caregiving supports their sense of belonging and wellbeing. Relationships with kaiako are close and trusting. Routines and care moments are seen as learning opportunities.

Children requiring additional learning support are encouraged and enabled to fully participate in the programme. Kaiako have the knowledge and skills to successfully promote their engagement, communication and social learning.

Transitions into and across rooms is sensitively implemented and responsive to children's readiness and in collaboration with whānau. Kaiako are proactive in identifying strategies to support the development of skills that promote successful transition to school.

Bicultural practice is highly evident in the environment and routines. Some teachers use te reo Māori spontaneously and children are responding using kupu Māori. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are woven throughout learning experiences enjoyed by children. The service is continuing to explore how to better respond to Māori children through a focus on te ao Māori within the local context.

Pacific culture is reflected within the environments. Leaders acknowledge the need to strengthen provision for children of Pacific heritage and their families. Up-to-date Ministry of Education resources have been accessed to support this development.

The curriculum is responsive to parent aspirations and children's interests and ideas. Literacy, mathematics, science and the arts are well integrated throughout the play-based learning spaces. Teachers are working together to implement the revised early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. They are aware of the need to further define the valued learning outcomes within their curriculum. This should enable teachers to measure the impact of the planned programme on children's learning and support ongoing planning decisions.

Children's engagement within the programme are recorded and stories are regularly written that outline children's participation, learning and at times progress. The on-line assessment tool encourages whānau participation and strengthens links between home and Nature Kids. To further strengthen assessment practice, teachers should:

  • strengthen the focus on children's significant learning

  • consider how to more effectively promote future learning.

Spontaneous and policy reviews regularly occur and are valued as a tool for teaching and learning. Planned internal evaluation is currently focused on curriculum and teaching practices. To further strengthen understanding and use of the established framework teachers and leaders should:

  • create an evaluative question to guide the process

  • develop a range of robust indicators

  • evaluate the improvements made with a focus on outcomes for children.

A newly revised appraisal process, supported by recent Educational Council professional development, has been implemented this year. Continuing to strengthen and embed appraisal, particularly in relation to setting measurable goals and providing feedback to support teachers ongoing development, is a key next step.

Leaders are future-focused with a clear sense of purpose and commitment to improvement. Collaborative relationships are evident and the teaching team work well together to promote positive learning outcomes for all children.

Key Next Steps

Priorities for Nature Kids to continue to strengthen include:

  • aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation

  • knowledge and use of internal evaluation

  • appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nature Kids 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 non-compliance in relation to premises and facilities. The service provider must ensure:

  • the fish tank is secured

  • the mirror in Rata room is made safe.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Services 2008, PF7]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Nature Kids will be in three years.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

30 January 2019

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

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34, Girls 34

Ethnic composition

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

November 2018

Date of this report

30 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

March 2013

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.