Newstead Country Preschool - 03/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Newstead Country Preschool

How well placed is Newstead Country Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Newstead Country Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Newstead Country Preschool is a privately owned, purpose-built centre, situated rurally in extensive grounds near Hamilton city. The centre provides all-day education and care for children from six months to school age. It is licensed for 37 children including 15 up to the age of two years. Six children identify as Māori. The mixed-aged centre has three core groups, infants, toddlers and 'big kids'. The owner is responsible for governance, as well as being involved in the day-to-day running of the centre.

Since the 2016 ERO review, one of the centre's experienced teachers has been appointed centre manager and there have been some changes to the teaching team. There has also been an extension to the indoor-outdoor learning space which is accessible to all age groups. The majority of teachers hold early childhood qualifications and several are currently in training. The centre is committed to teacher-child ratios better than the minimum Ministry of Education requirements.

The centre philosophy prioritises an inclusive, family-like environment in a unique country setting. There is an emphasis on learning in the outdoors and surrounds.

The centre has responded positively to the recommendations in the 2016 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children experience respectful and responsive learning-focussed relationships with their teachers. Teachers model and encourage oral literacy and numeracy using a range of strategies. There is a balance of child-initiated and teacher-led learning opportunities. Children are supported to follow their own interests and there are high levels of engagement and sustained play. There is some use of te reo and tikanga Māori practices in the centre. This should be developed further and captured in children's learning stories to support children's language, culture and identity. Transitions are well considered and personalised as children move into and through the centre and on to school. Children are well supported to develop as capable competent learners.

Children up to the age of two experience responsive care which is sensitive to their individual needs. The calm, unhurried, respectful environment is supporting them to develop a strong sense of belonging. Tuakana teina relationships are valued and promoted in the mixed-age setting and all children benefit from this. A very supportive and inclusive approach to children with additional needs and their families is evident. Children's physical, social and emotional wellbeing are being supported and there is a strong sense of family in the centre which is valued by all.

The centre curriculum is responsive to children’s emerging strengths and interests. The natural environment provides rich and authentic learning opportunities. Physical challenge is encouraged and children are supported to be self managing. Individualised planning and assessment is responsive to parents’ aspirations and children’s learning and development. Children experience an engaging curriculum that supports and challenges their learning.

Leaders are enacting the centre’s philosophy. Mutual respect underpins the collaborative team approach. Building teacher capability and improving practice through a range of professional learning opportunities is well supported. A useful self-review framework is in place to examine practices and make improvements for children. Monitoring and evaluating the resulting changes using evidence will enhance practice further. Children and families feel very well supported and have a strong sense of belonging.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the centre are to:

  • continue to develop practices which support language, culture and identity for Māori and others

  • further strengthen internal evaluation to better understand the outcomes for children and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Newstead Country Preschool 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

3 May 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

37 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26 Girls 25

Ethnic composition

Other European


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

3 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2016

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

February 2010

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.