Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu - 03/03/2020

1 Evaluation of Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu

How well placed is Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.


Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu is a community-based rural service, in South Taranaki. It provides education and care for up to 30 children aged over two years.

The preschool operates daily with mixed-aged sessions four days a week and a Te Awa session for four-year-old children each Tuesday.

The centre employs four qualified early childhood teachers, one teacher in training and an administrator. The senior teacher is responsible for professional leadership and the day-to-day management of the centre.

The centre philosophy is at the heart of teaching and curriculum delivery emphasising the importance of respect for the environment, people and things. The vision is inspired by 'natural beauty and heart relationships acknowledging whakapapa and local history'.

Since the August 2016 ERO report, some changes have occurred on the committee and to staffing, including the appointment of a senior teacher in 2016. The centre has been responsive to the key next steps noted in the previous ERO report.

The Review Findings

The revised philosophy is well enacted in practice reflecting the aspirations and valued outcomes for children held by the community. Curriculum delivery provides plentiful opportunities for children to learn through enticing and relevant contexts in the centre and local community. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are an integral part of children's experiences seamlessly woven throughout the day.

Children learn in a positive and encouraging environment. The aesthetically pleasing learning spaces stimulate children’s active exploration and discovery. Teachers work alongside children appropriately fostering their interests and responding to their learning needs. Children access a wide range of open-ended activities inviting their creatively and engagement. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

There is a well-considered approach to effectively minimise potential barriers to children’s full participation in learning. Children with additional learning needs are well supported to achieve success, reflective of their individual goals. Regular communication between staff, families and whānau promotes the continuity of learning for children at home and in the centre. Relevant support is provided through the provision of an education support worker and appropriate liaison with external agencies. Useful connections with other educational institutions inform a planned response for children as they transition to school.

Teachers know children well and use their collective knowledge of individuals to support and document their social, emotional and learning development. Children’s 'heart journals' capture significant learning moments for individuals and groups.

Self-review for assurance and evaluation informing ongoing improvement have led to developments in teaching and strengthened outcomes for children. Practices for building individual teacher capability, including appraisal and professional learning and development appropriately align to promoting further improvements for children, their families and whānau. An active parent committee is highly collaborative and supportive towards achieving the centre's strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree on the following key next steps:

  • undertake further review of assessment practice to be assured the desired outcomes of Te Whāriki and the services outcomes for children are progressed and achieved

  • continue to build individual teacher capability and the service's capacity to carry out effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu 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:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

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 compliance practice, the senior teacher must ensure approval for the excursions that take place, is always recorded.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS 17]

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

3 March 2020

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

30 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 28, Female 20

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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

3 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2016

Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

August 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.