Pahiatua Early Learning - 11/10/2019

1 Evaluation of Pahiatua Early Learning

How well placed is Pahiatua Early Learning to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pahiatua Early Learning is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Pahiatua Early Learning is located in Pahiatua. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 7.30am until 5.30pm. Full-day places are available to children from two to six years old. At the time of this review, 70 children were enrolled and 13 identify as Māori.

The philosophy emphasises the building of trusting, nurturing and respectful relationships within a culture of kindness and fun.

The early learning service is administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association (the association). The governing board is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the organisation. The day-to-day running of the association is the role of the chief executive officer who is responsible to the board. An operations manager supports the service’s compliance and policy development. Two senior teachers provide educational leadership across the teaching teams.

The Early Learning Service is part of the Tararua Kāhui Ako.

The September 2016 ERO report identified that the service needed to strengthen practice in assessment and planning; understanding and use of internal evaluation to enhance teaching and learning. Some progress is evident.

This review was part of a cluster of twelve kindergartens and one early learning service in the Ruahine Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

The revised philosophy successfully guides the service's practice. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are purposefully and successfully promoted. Respectful relationships with family and the community promotes connection and involvement with the service. Informative wall displays enable children to see themselves within an environment that fosters their sense of belonging.

The learning environment is well resourced. Children use equipment to lead their own learning and extend their interests. Intentional teaching techniques encourage problem solving and facilitate children's understanding of mathematical concepts related to their play. Teachers have meaningful conversations with learners to foster the development of emotional and social skills.

Infants and toddlers benefit from a calm, settled environment. The purposeful design of the physical space enables them to explore at their own pace. Teachers work collaboratively with parents to implement consistent care routines. A primary caregiving system enables children to form secure attachments with key teachers. Opportunities for older children to play alongside their younger peers is well promoted to support tuakana teina relationships.

Successful transitions in to the service and on to school are supported by effective partnerships with all those involved. The service continues to build relationships with local schools through its involvement in the Kāhui Ako to promote smooth transitions to school. A range of external agencies provides additional support for children as needed.

Aspects of te ao Māori are visible within the environment. Children engage in karakia and waiata and confidently use sign language during morning hui. Teachers continue to grow their understanding of Māori principles and use of te reo Māori. Working in partnership with whānau Māori continues to be a focus to support Māori children's achievement.

A well-considered planning framework enables families to contribute to their children's learning. Ongoing observations of children participating in everyday activities and experiences support teachers to identify learners' interests. Teachers engage with families to grow their understanding of their languages and cultures. Children's records of learning should be further strengthened to consistently:

  • identify children's learning progression and the intentional teaching strategies used to extend learning outcomes

  • respond to children's culture, language and identity and make this visible within assessment and the environment.

Senior teachers work collaboratively to build teacher and leadership capability. There is a strong commitment to growing staff knowledge and skills through ongoing professional learning, research opportunities and the sharing of good practice.

An ongoing cycle of self review promotes the use of evidence to reflect on and improve practice. Leaders and teachers have identified the need to strengthen internal evaluation practice to improve outcomes for children.

Association leaders have a well-considered approach to progressing strategic objectives. Robust systems and processes are in place for reporting and evaluating the quality of operations. Information is used to inform decision making and to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

At centre level, priorities are to strengthen:

  • the planning and assessment process to show how teachers are supporting children to deepen complexity of learning

  • understanding and use of effective internal evaluation to improve outcomes for children

  • teachers' understanding of te ao Māori and use of te reo Māori.

At the governance level, the Ruahine Kindergarten Association have identified that their priorities are to continue to:

  • strengthen and build their knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori and seek engagement with local iwi, with kaumatua support

  • support Pahiatua Early Learning to embed internal evaluation for improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pahiatua Early Learning 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

11 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



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 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 37, Female 33

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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

11 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2016

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.