Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu - 17/08/2016

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.

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


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 four pillars of the centre philosophy form the basis of routines and programmes. These pillars are: involvement (Hand); relationships (Koru); learning (Blocks); and families and community (Mountain). A review of the philosophy is planned.

A focus on positive relationships and literacy and numeracy remain central to the curriculum. Each Tuesday and Thursday a separate programme operates for four year olds transitioning to school.

Since the July 2013 ERO report, the redevelopment of the outdoor environment has been completed to reflect the rural community and with a focus on sustainability. The result is a stimulating and inviting area that acknowledges the cultural identity of New Zealand and the natural world.

The previous ERO review identified that programme evaluation, teacher appraisals and integration of te ao Māori within the curriculum required further development. Some progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a welcoming and inviting environment that strongly reflects the centre philosophy and its rural context. Children are viewed as capable and competent learners who are able to lead their own learning. Children are able to freely access a wide range of activities and resources that promote and extend their interests indoors and outside.

Reciprocal and respectful interactions between teachers and children are evident as they work alongside each other. Time and space are provided for children to inquire, problem solve, investigate, explore and take risks. Children actively participate in a programme where they develop confidence, independence and enthusiasm for learning.

Teachers know children and their families well and understand the importance of positive relationships in supporting learning. They work collaboratively to determine and work towards achieving parent aspirations for their children.

Children's and parents' views inform curriculum developments. Professional learning opportunities for teachers have contributed to their knowledge and understanding of children's learning. Leaders and teachers agree that strengthening the documentation of assessment, planning and evaluation to record possible learning outcomes for children and deliberate acts of teaching is a next step.

Children's transitions into and within the preschool are well supported. Teachers continue to investigate ways to better support older children with their transition to school.

There has been positive progress made in providing a programme that reflects te ao Māori as part of daily experiences. The natural environment reflects this. Teachers increasingly acknowledge and value the cultural identity of Māori learners.

The new appraisal process needs further development to make it more robust. Including sources of evidence that demonstrate how teachers meet their appraisal goals and the Practising Teacher Criteria, should strengthen this process. Further exploration of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners should enhance teaching practice and understanding of a culturally responsive curriculum.

Teachers are clearly affirmed for their individual growth and actively encouraged to continue to improve their effectiveness. They share their knowledge and professional learning with each other. The head teacher works collaboratively and supports staff in their practice and leadership roles.

Self review processes continue to evolve. The head teacher and teachers are reflective and developing their understandings of review and evaluation for improving practices, so that over time they can measure the impact of teaching and learning practices.

A comprehensive strategic plan guides operations and provides a strong accountability focus on improving outcomes for all children.There is a systematic process that guides policy review and implementation. Clear expectations and guidelines are in place.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree on the following key next steps:

  • further develop and improve understandings of internal evaluation
  • continue strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation
  • improve the appraisal system to include sources of evidence that meet the Practising Teacher Criteria. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and 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:

  • 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 Okaiawa Preschool at Matapu will be in three years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 August 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

30 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 30, Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

17 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

June 2007

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.