Ōtātara Children's Centre - 09/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Ōtātara Children's Centre

How well placed is Ōtātara Children's 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.


Ōtātara Children's Centre is located in the Hawke's Bay suburb of Taradale. It is situated on the campus of the Eastern Institute of Technology (E.I.T). The teaching team is led by a supervisor and team leaders. The centre is licensed to provide full day education and care for 61 children, including 20 up to the age of two. There are two main learning areas, one for children over two years and the other for the service's youngest children. Each of these areas has its own team of teachers.

Since the January 2014 ERO report, teachers have worked on developing the staff appraisal process with links to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. Professional learning and development with an external facilitator has strengthened their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori and implementation of an authentic bicultural curriculum. Effective evaluation linked to teaching and learning remains a priority for improvement.

The E.I.T provides a supportive and collaborative approach to governance.

The Review Findings

The philosophy emphasises the importance of whanaungatanga, high quality education and care, respect, collaborative professional practice, empowerment of children and a bicultural approach. These are highly evident in practice. Positive relationships amongst teachers, children and their families successfully promote a sense of identity.

Children are valued as competent learners. Teachers provide effective support for them to lead their own learning. The wide range of activities and resources provided promotes and extends children's ideas and interests. They are able to challenge themselves and problem solve. Their ownership of the environment and sense of wellbeing are strongly evident.

Teachers use effective strategies to encourage children’s language development, mathematical understanding and sustained engagement in learning. They are included in children's play and take a considered approach to supporting and extending ideas and understanding.

Programme provision for infants and toddlers is focused on nurturing their wellbeing. Children's care routines are unhurried and enjoyable learning experiences. Their rhythms and routines guide the programme. Authentic opportunities for active communication and exploration support children to develop independence and self-management skills.

Considerable progress has been made in developing an understanding of te ao Māori. Te Kaupapa Ahurea o Ōtātara has been documented to reflect the philosophical values underpinning teachers approach to teaching and learning. Purposeful links have been made with local iwi and the E.I.T community. Leaders and teachers have sought support and have developed some bicultural priorities linked to children's planning for learning. This development provides a good basis for teachers' facilitation of educational success for Māori children.

Individual child profiles are accessible to children and their parents. These are an attractive record of children's engagement in learning and development while at the centre. A recently introduced online programme has been implemented to improve teachers' recording of children's learning and communication with parents and whānau. This has resulted in improved consultation from some families and is supporting parents to participate in decision making about aspects of the programme for their children. Teachers should continue to encourage whānau contributions to the learning programme.

Teachers continue to develop their approach to planning and assessment for learning. A recent initiative involves teachers specifically planning their own strategies and learning experiences linked to collaboratively identified learning priorities. Effective evaluation linked to teaching and learning has yet to be established. Plans are in place to improve children's access to their learning records through the use of digital technology. Strengthening learning records to show children's progress over time and next learning steps is needed.

Children's transitions into and within the centre are well supported by key teachers. Positive relationships between centre staff and local schools supports older children. A summary report of each child’s learning provides useful information for children, families and whānau to share with schools. Teachers agree a useful next step is to give children more ownership of these learning records. Recent revisit of transition processes within the centre supports a well-considered flexible approach that meets individual children’s needs.

Careful consideration is given to provision for children who require additional learning support. Staff work in collaboration with parents and whānau and seek advice and guidance from appropriate agencies when necessary.

Strong leadership is provided and teamwork is well established. Opportunities for teachers to take on leadership roles are encouraged and supported. They regularly seek professional learning and development and a range of research to support their practice. A useful appraisal process supports teacher's development. The quality of feedback should be strengthened to be more focussed on improving practice.

An annual plan outlines priorities for the year. Through identifying desired outcomes linked to goals, progress should be able to be better monitored and measured. A strategic plan has yet to be developed to support continued improvement and sustainability of operation over time.

Teachers have yet to effectively use internal evaluation to support decision making about improvement. A useful next step should be to utilise the Priorities for Children's learning and Te Kaupapa Ahurea o Ōtātara: Statement of Cultural Intent document to measure how well practice is reflecting agreed ideals and to support decision making about changes.

Key Next Steps

Management and staff agree that they need to continue to strengthen:

  • planning for children's learning

  • internal evaluation

  • long-term operational planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ōtātara Children's 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified the following areas of non-compliance:

  • implementation of an comprehensive hazard identification system to isolate, minimise and or eliminate hazards particularly furniture or equipment that could topple and cause injury or damage is secured and record and evaluate emergency drills
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS12, HS6

Since the review, the service have developed their systems and provided evidence to address hazard identification and management.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Ōtātara Children's Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 March 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 Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

61 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 38, Boys 38

Ethnic composition




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

November 2016

Date of this report

9 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

January 2011

Education Review

August 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.