New Shoots Children's Centre - Hamilton Central - 10/02/2015

1. Evaluation of New Shoots Children's Centre - Hamilton Central

How well placed is New Shoots Children's Centre - Hamilton Central to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Very well placed

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


New Shoots Children’s Centre is a privately owned, purpose-built centre that opened in January 2013 in inner-city Hamilton. The centre provides early childhood education and care for children from two months to school age in five age-designated rooms. At the time of this ERO review, there were 117 children enrolled, 22 of whom identified as Māori.

The vision of New Shoots Children’s Centre is for a place where ‘children and families grow together’. Leaders and teachers place tamariki and whānau at the heart of learning. The service aims to provide a place that feels right for everyone involved, is a fun and exciting place to be, is innovative and research based, and has a local and community focus. Individual room philosophies reflect the centre’s vision, and are responsive to the needs of children and the aspirations of their parents.

The owners have developed a strategic plan that prioritises goals for centre direction and continuing development. They have high expectations for teaching and learning. Centre owners provide useful professional support and guidance for staff, and specifically designed resources for learning. They are committed to providing a high-quality environment and have made several significant design changes to better meet the needs of children and teachers.

Since opening, leaders and teachers have focused on developing teamwork, and settling children and whānau into the centre. The emphasis on wellbeing and belonging has been paramount in establishing an effective early childhood learning community.

Children come from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and include a number of families with English as a second language. Leaders and teachers use a range of strategies to communicate with parents and whānau about children. Parents appreciate that teachers provide a learning environment that is welcoming, enjoyable and inclusive.

The Review Findings

Respectful and reciprocal relationships among children, parents, whānau, and staff underpin all centre operations. Children are highly engaged in an attractive environment that provides a wide range of activities that stimulate and challenge them. They have easy access to both inside and outside resources, and shared play areas. Children are recognised as independent learners who have the capability to understand their own needs. They lead their own learning, initiate play, and are encouraged to solve problems and self regulate with teacher support. They develop friendships and have the confidence to decide when they are ready to transition into the next age-related area of the centre.

Teachers notice what children are interested in and follow up with a diverse range of activities that contribute to their learning. They skilfully integrate children’s emerging interests, developmental stages and whānau contributions to plan programmes that build and extend their emotional, physical and intellectual growth. Literacy and numeracy are authentically integrated into the curriculum. Children benefit from opportunities to explore the local environment, including trips to the library, local businesses and nearby park. Group excursions to a local bush area have allowed children to interact positively with the natural world.

Teachers work alongside children and encourage them to extend their vocabulary and explore different ways of learning. It would be beneficial for leaders and teachers to review how toddlers’ language development is being encouraged and extended.

Teachers demonstrate cultural sensitivity and recognise all parents and whānau as contributing members of the centre community. Cultural celebrations of children and their families, such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and Matariki, are integrated into the programme and build pride in identity cultural heritage. Māori children and whānau appreciate their language and culture being valued and shared through waiata, te reo and respect for tikanga Māori. Teachers participate in ongoing professional learning and development to build their capacity in bicultural practices.

Clear guidelines and expectations assist teachers to evaluate children’s learning effectively. Teachers, parents and extended whānau regularly communicate and share children’s progress and achievement through a variety of media. Parents are also provided with education and information about developmental stages and learning through play.

Babies settle quickly in a warm, calm and secure environment that promotes aroha, compassion and respect. They enjoy many opportunities to interact with teachers and build strong attachments, particularly with those who are their primary carers. Babies have easy access to an environment that is well resourced and encourages exploration.

Teachers have a very good understanding of babies’ developmental needs and use a variety of strategies to respond to children’s natural rhythms, and changing needs and preferences. Frequent conversations with parents and whānau provide teachers with vital information to support babies’ engagement and learning. These are supported by comprehensive personal journals that teachers and families use to share children’s daily wellbeing, learning and growth.

The highly respected director is responsible for the day-to-day management of the centre. She is an enthusiastic and capable leader with a strong focus on positive outcomes for children. She is ably supported by team leaders committed to positive learning outcomes. A knowledgeable education manager provides regular professional support to the leadership team and teachers about current research and best practice.

The leadership team has a solution-focused approach to challenges. Useful self-review procedures and practices are a feature of the centre. Reviews are comprehensive, inform decision making and improve the quality of care and education for young children. The appraisal process invites teachers to reflect on their practice and set goals. Management are currently reviewing the appraisal systems to ensure there is:

  • a focus on high-quality teaching practice and positive outcomes for children
  • regular discussion and monitoring of goals
  • consistent implementation of the process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of New Shoots Children's Centre - Hamilton Central 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of New Shoots Children's Centre - Hamilton Central will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 February 2015

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

97 children, including up to 36 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 55%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā









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

December 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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.