New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre - 18/06/2015

1 Evaluation of New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre

How well placed is New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre requires further support to improve:

  • governance and leadership
  • self review
  • assessment, planning and evaluation
  • the quality of teaching
  • aspects of the curriculum.

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


New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre is a community-based service administered by the YMCA, a not-for-profit, community-based organisation. Since the 2011 ERO review, the centre has undergone significant refurbishment and expansion on the original site. It has recently been relicensed to provide care and education for up to 49 children, including 19 aged up to two years. Infants and toddlers are catered for in a newly-developed learning area next to the original site.

The YMCA board has overall responsibility for governance. It has invested substantial funds in expanding and refurbishing the facilities. The manager of the centre is responsible for day-to-day operations and programme development. She reports to the YMCA chief executive officer who reports to the board.

Of the eight staff, four are qualified and fully registered teachers. Two are in the process of working towards full registration. Two unqualified staff work part time with the children. Since the 2011 ERO review, some professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives have supported improvement in bicultural practices, teacher registration processes and self review.

The Review Findings

Teachers are caring and know children well. They work effectively with families, whānau and agencies to promote understanding and inclusion of different needs and cultures. While some staff use sustained learning conversations to extend children’s learning, this practice needs to become embedded. Staff should work to improve the quality of their engagement with children to enable them to recognise and respond to children's needs in timely and meaningful ways.

The programme offers some choices for children. Mathematics and literacy are appropriately integrated. Parts of the recently developed environment are beginning to promote both local and New Zealand heritage and the natural world. Additional opportunities for science, construction, creative self expression, investigation and research should be provided to enrich the curriculum.

A range of resources is made available to children. Staff recognise that these need to be better organised to promote children's interests and participation. Providing more opportunities for children to return to activities and self-selected materials should support sustained play and strengthen learning. Further development of outdoor play experiences is needed.

Provision for under twos has been a development focus. Further increasing the range and quality of resources should enrich the learning opportunities for these young children. Leaders identify the need for PLD to promote understanding about high quality practice and expectations for teaching and learning.

The centre has a flexible and individualised approach to transition with children and their families. Staff have successfully supported the transition of significant numbers of new families and children into the centre. Documenting expectations for this process should help staff to sustain their good practice. Preparation for transition out of the centre could be strengthened by developing closer links with schools and exploring ways of sharing children’s early learning with new entrant teachers.

Bicultural practices are beginning to develop in the programme and environment. Teachers are increasing their knowledge and confidence in promoting te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Development of centre policy and plans that define centre expectations for bicultural practices is a next step. Through accessing Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, teachers should further develop their understanding of strategies to promote success for Māori, as Māori.

Assessment, planning and evaluation continue to be developed. Staff should work collaboratively to strengthen these processes. Some consideration is given to children’s interests when making decisions about resourcing and provision of experiences. Increasing the focus on the significant interests and learning of each child should be a priority. Teachers regularly reflect on aspects of their practice, supported by opportunities to meet and discuss teaching and learning. Further work is required to develop consistent practice.

Many parents contribute useful information to support their child’s learning programme. Families are made aware of their children’s involvement in learning experiences through the daily diary and photo displays.

The recently revised staff appraisal process needs further development. Including better defined goals and regular constructive feedback from the appraiser, should add rigour. New leadership roles and responsibilities are about to be formalised. Explicit support and resourcing should be established to support leaders’ development and ongoing support for provisionally registered teachers.

Self review is not yet an integral part of practice. Staff need to develop their understanding of a process that effectively informs decisions about improvement. Policies and guidelines for expectations in relation to operations, and teaching and learning programmes, should be collaboratively reviewed to that ensure legislative requirements are met and obligations understood.

Strengthening liaison between the board and the centre to promote the quality of provision is a key next step. It is timely for managers to develop a suitable strategic plan to promote improved quality, and effectiveness of outcomes for children at this centre.

Key Next Steps

Systems that promote quality improvement and sustainable practice need development. These should include strengthening:

  • liaison between the board and the centre
  • support for centre leadership
  • the quality of teaching
  • assessment, planning and evaluation
  • appraisal and mentoring
  • self review
  • bicultural practice and provision for Māori children and whānau
  • the organisation and range of resources available to children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of New Plymouth YMCA Childcare 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to the curriculum, self review, and planning for excursions. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation
  • understanding and use of self review
  • management of risk for all excursions(Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, GMA 5, HS 14.)

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develop 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 New Plymouth YMCA Childcare Centre will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

18 June 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

49 children, including up to 19 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 35,

Boys 22

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā











Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1: 5

Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

18 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2011


Education Review

February 2008

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.