Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre - 19/10/2016

1 Evaluation of Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre 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.


Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre operates under the direct governance of the CNI Early Education Services Trust. The centre is located in Kawerau and is licensed to cater for 38 children from two years to school age, and a maximum of 15 up to two years. Most of the children identify as Māori. The centre hours are from 7.45am to 5 .00pm, Monday-Friday.

Since the 2013 ERO report the centre has made significant progress in addressing the areas identified for development in that report. The centre philosophy has been reviewed and is now integral to operations. Teaching practices have been enriched and embedded in learning programmes, and appraisal processes have been enhanced. Teachers have increased their confidence to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori into learning programmes in meaningful ways.

The centre philosophy, or kaupapa, is based on the Māori concepts of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, whakamana and wairuatanga. The centre values the relationships with whānau to build strong foundations for children's learning and education by showing kindness, hospitality and support to tamariki, whānau, and the wider community .Opportunities are provided for tamariki to make decisions, set their own learning goals, develop a sense of self and identity, and take increasing responsibility for their care and learning. Their wairua is supported by building on the knowledge they bring to the centre and by making connections to home. Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre has an organisational culture where first and foremost children are valued for who they are and what they bring to the centre.

The centre is well-supported by the CNI Early Education Services Trust. The trust’s strategic direction sets out the service’s vision, expected educational outcomes, and values. It also defines the strategies for delivering the principles and strands of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and for respecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The trust works positively to provide equitable opportunities to families by extending its hours of opening.

The Review Findings

Strong reciprocal relationships with children and their whānau encourage active engagement across all areas of centre programmes. The knowledge that children and families bring with them is highly valued by teachers. Children are respected as unique learners, and accepted and celebrated for who they are. There is sensitivity to children's physical and emotional wellbeing, and teachers are skilled at using positive guidance strategies to support social development. Parents appreciate the time given by teachers and outside agencies to work with them on strategies to support children's development, particularly those with special learning or behavioural challenges. Bicultural practices are an essential part of centre life. Te reo and tikanga Māori concepts are well integrated into the programme in authentic ways. Māori children are achieving success as Māori. Children and their families are warmly welcomed into a positive and exciting environment where they enjoy respectful and trusting relationships with centre staff and one another.

Children learn through play in a learner centred programme and environment. They play and explore, in the safe but challenging indoor and outdoor areas, using their imagination and creativity in pursuing their interests. Teachers spend time with children noticing, recognising, and responding intentionally to extend learning opportunities for them. Open-ended questions are used to prompt children's thinking. High quality resources are readily accessible and used by children to solve problems and experiment in their play. Teachers encourage children to solve problems by themselves and work and interact cooperatively with others. Oral language, literacy, mathematics, science and nature are naturally integrated into the learning programme. Children are developing independence and being supported to make choices and take increasing responsibility for their own learning and wellbeing.

Infants and toddlers benefit from learning and playing in a separate secure environment. Highly responsive care-giving supports their need for strong and secure attachments. Children have easy access to spaces that are very well resourced and encourage exploration. Teachers maintain a calm, slow respectful pace for children who are not yet able to sit by themselves, and for those who are crawling and learning to walk. Toddlers have opportunities to visit and interact with the older children's environment when they choose to, which fosters valuable tuakana/teina relationships. This calm, unrushed approach is effectively meeting the learning and development needs of the younger children.

Centre programmes and learning opportunities are strongly based on the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. There is a real emphasis on bicultural practices. Planning includes children's individual interests and responds to children's fascination with a chosen subject. Teachers value and make effective use of their knowledge about the local environment that families and children bring. Planning is evidence based using formative assessment practices that responds to individuals and groups of children.

Assessment processes support children as successful learners. Children's interests, learning and progress are recorded in attractive individual portfolios as well as an online application. This information identifies children's learning and they are keen to talk about and share their successes. Parents and whānau value this information. They are involved in learning and supporting their children in partnership with teachers.

Children and their families are well supported to make successful transitions within the centre and to school. A team approach is used with the whānau at the centre of the process, and is tailored to the individual child. Procedures are intentional, planned and unhurried. They include visits, liaison with schools, and ongoing support for parents. Children move confidently from one educational setting to another and this enables them to actively and confidently take part in the new learning environment.

The centre manager provides strong collaborative leadership to the teaching team. She models effective teaching practice and has up-to-date knowledge of current ECE theory and best practice. She empowers teachers to use their strengths and take on leadership roles. Self review is integral to centre life, and leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners who continually look for ways to improve their practice and learning opportunities for children. Effective appraisal procedures and feedback to staff are enhancing the teaching practice ERO observed in the centre.

Teachers have been involved in effective professional development and learning that is enhancing their knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching young children. The Trust provides extensive support for the teaching team through professional development and the knowledgeable mentoring and support of professional leaders. This support is embedding a commitment by the teaching team to the beliefs and values about children's learning and development outlined in the centre philosophy.

Key Next Steps

To further develop a bicultural approach and teachers' cultural competence in assessment.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nga Ririki Early Learning 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.

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 Nga Ririki Early Learning Centre will be in four years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

19 October 2016

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

38 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 17

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

19 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

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 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.