No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay - 19/10/2017

1 Evaluation of No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay

How well placed is No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay 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.


No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay is a home-based education and care network licensed for up to 50 children. The roll is currently 96, with 11 children identifying as Māori.

The service has recently undergone a name change (formerly At a Home Hawke's Bay) to better reflect their philosophy and vision. The philosophy emphasises the importance of children being allowed to discover and explore the natural environment, take risks and develop resilience through real life experiences.

Educators work in their own homes with up to four children at one time. A service-wide morning programme is operated by qualified teachers to facilitate children's experience of the outdoors.

Two directors oversee operation. Two visiting teachers, one is a director, visit homes support educator practice and run the weekly programme.

Considerable work has been undertaken since the April 2015 ERO report, on establishing and strengthening the service's vision. This has resulted in clear expectations for teaching and learning in line with philosophy, which was a key next step. Progress has been made in developing strategic goals, self review and connections to children's culture, language and identity within the curriculum. These remain areas for further development.

The Review Findings

A strong philosophy sets direction for the service. The curriculum is developed to enact this philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Children lead their own learning through exploration and discovery of the world around them. They are given plentiful opportunities to connect with Papatūānuku. Service records of children demonstrate they have an understanding of manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga.

Implementing a bicultural approach within the home based context is a work in progress. The service acknowledge Māori as Tangata Whenua and encourages educators to learn about te āo Māori. Children make connections to local landmarks and places of importance through the weekly programme.

A recent focus on providing equitable opportunities for all, has resulted in positive outcomes for children. Educators carefully consider how to ensure infants and toddlers are fully involved in the programme, while responding to their needs. Leaders advocate for children with additional learning needs, proactively planning and establishing links with external agencies. They support educators to effectively meet these children's needs.

Staff are developing a shared understanding of what educational success for Māori children looks like in their context. Establishing learning partnerships with whānau Māori should enhance responsiveness to the individual contexts of children and their families.

Children's participation and engagement in learning through play is regularly documented. This is shared with parents and families who have opportunities to contribute. Educators identify teaching strategies to cater to children's developing skills and evolving needs. A key next step is for visiting teachers to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation for individual children to better:

  • identify learning outcomes and demonstrate increased complexity of learning over time

  • maintain connections to their culture, language and identity.

Visiting teachers work collaboratively to provide consistent support to educators. Professional learning is designed and delivered by them to ensure the service reflects current educational thinking and practice. A range of systems are in place to provide all staff with ongoing professional feedback, collegial discussion, information sharing and reflection on practice.

Those governing and managing the service are highly effective in their roles. They demonstrate sound understanding and capability in their areas of expertise. Self review, aligned to the service philosophy, is regularly undertaken to inform improvements. Leaders continue to develop their understanding of internal evaluation. An increased focus on the use of evidence to underpin a collaborative evaluation process is a key next step.

A strategic/annual plan outlines implementation of the curriculum as well as intended staff and business development. Further work is needed to balance business and programme priorities within the strategic direction, underpinned by clear goals. Additional documentation of procedures for the day-to-day running of the programme is required to promote shared understanding and accountability.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified that key next steps for visiting teachers to support educators are to:

  • develop strong learning partnerships with whānau

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation for individual children and for the directors to:

  • continue to build understanding and use of internal evaluation

  • further develop documentation to support governance and management.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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.

To improve current practice, the early childhood service management should continue to strengthen the risk assessment and management of regular excursions, to clearly outline standard procedures and practice to manage hazards.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of No Cotton Wool Kids Hawke's Bay will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

19 October 2017

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 Home-based Education and Care Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 50 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 54, Boys 42

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

19 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.