Nurture by Nature Early Childhood Centre - 15/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Nurture by Nature Childhood Centre

How well placed is Nurture by Nature Childhood Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Nurture by Nature Childhood Centre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Nurture by Nature Early Childhood Centre is a purpose-built semi-rural service in Waipapa, Kerikeri. It provides full-day education and care for up to 50 children, including a maximum of 15 under two years of age. The service has three learning spaces. Kowhai caters for children up to two years of age, Pohutukawa for two to three-and-a-half years of age, and Kauri for older children.

The children in Kowhai and Pohutukawa rooms share a large outdoor space. Children in Kauri have access to a generous outdoor area. This space is also used as part of the centre's fruit and vegetable garden. Children walk a short distance to a local ngāhere to explore and learn about nature.

The centre's philosophy is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, te ao Māori and te Tiriti o Waitangi based principles. It has an expressed commitment to serving its children and their families, who come from diverse backgrounds. The centre is closely linked to the local hāpu/iwi and actively participates in community events.

The original owner's vision for the centre remains the motivation for staff. The centre manager continues in her role to lead and support this kaupapa. The teaching team is knowledgeable, skilled and mostly long-serving.

The centre has a positive ERO reporting history. Centre leaders and teachers have maintained and built on the positive features identified in ERO's 2016 report. They have made very good progress addressing the next steps identified at that time.

The Review Findings

The service's vision and philosophy are highly evident in practice. Relationships and interactions between children and teachers contribute to the curriculum that fosters deep learning. Teachers have a sound knowledge of children as learners, and of whānau and the wider community. Children are confident in their relationships with each other and adults and demonstrate the concept of tuakana/teina. They receive very good care, particularly in developing social competence.

Children are competent in designing and choosing their activities and play experiences. Indoor and outdoor environments are aesthetically designed and incorporate natural resources and materials that encourage children's curiosity and play. Children respond positively to opportunities to explore and learn from their local environment. The ngāhere curriculum for older children promotes a strong sense of kaitiakitanga and a deeper awareness of the natural surroundings.

Teachers work calmly with children up to two years of age and understand the importance of an unhurried programme. Younger children have space and time to lead their learning. Teachers use learning opportunities during routines to extend children's development and wellbeing. Transitions between rooms are well managed.

Treaty-based and bicultural practices are strengths that support Māori children to experience success as Māori. Inclusive practices recognise the multicultural nature of the service and support children with additional learning needs well. Teachers respond to culture and context in their decision making about curriculum development.

Teachers have established effective partnerships with whānau. A high level of collaboration supports increased participation of all who are involved in the service. Whānau who spoke with ERO appreciated their children's access to high-quality culturally relevant programmes.

Teachers' documentation of learning demonstrates a high level of engagement with children's ideas. Their professional knowledge has led to a clearer focus on science in the curriculum. Teachers take every opportunity to improve their practice through research, professional discussions and professional development.

A policy framework guides practice and is regularly reviewed and updated. Management of resources, and of induction process for new staff members, is effective and professional. Teachers' capacity to sustain a high level of quality to foster positive outcomes for children positions the centre well to continue building on current strengths.

Internal evaluation guides practices and decision-making. An organisational culture of ongoing improvement has been established. A new appraisal system supports and builds professional practice. Centre leaders have a clear vision that is linked to their strategic planning.

Key Next Steps

Leaders have identified appropriate next steps for sustaining and building on current very good practices. These areas for a further development focus include:

  • in-depth internal evaluation

  • staff performance appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nurture by Nature Childhood 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

15 October 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


Kerikeri, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 28 Boys 29

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


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

August 2019

Date of this report

15 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

March 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.