Pennylane Early Childhood Centre - 29/01/2014

1 Evaluation of Penny Lane Childcare Centre

How well placed is Penny Lane Childcare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Penny Lane Childcare Centre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Penny Lane Childcare Centre is located in a new, purpose built, privately-owned and operated educational child facility. The centre has modern, attractive, well resourced indoor and outdoor spaces for learning. It provides education and care for infants, toddlers and children from birth to five years of age.

The centre is licensed for 75 children including 25 under two year olds. They have established effective systems for the health and wellbeing of children.

Parents are warmly welcomed into the centre. Attractive display boards in the foyer and in learning spaces provide parents with good information about children’s learning. Teachers provide information evenings for parents to learn more about the centre's curriculum.

The manager and licensee place a strong focus on knowing the families. ERO observed caring and respectful relationships among parents and teachers and between children and teachers.

This is the first education review for the centre.

The Review Findings

The key features of the centre’s curriculum are:

  • a strong focus on children leading their own learning
  • a learning programme that supports children’s emerging interests and develops their confidence to contribute in group discussions.

Teachers are welcoming to all children, their parents and whānau. They foster warm, respectful and caring relationships to support children with their learning and transition through the centre. They take time to talk to parents and whānau to help them make purposeful links to children’s learning. Children’s learning is well supported by the use of high quality resources.

Regular use of effective practices by teachers supports children’s spontaneous learning, independence and problem solving skills. These include:

  • teachers regularly supporting and facilitating learning and allowing children to follow their interests and strengths
  • the provision of high quality resources, and attractive and well maintained learning environments, that provide children with a broad range of learning experiences and opportunities
  • hui time, which is a daily group time for groups of older children to discuss and study topics of interest in depth with the support of a teacher.

A recent review of biculturalism in the centre has identified what this will look like and how teachers and parents can contribute.

Teachers use a range of effective ways to record children’s emerging interests and plan for their learning. These include colourful and topical wall displays, daily observations in teachers' notebooks and informal discussions at the end of the day. Teachers regularly share and discuss these observations at weekly staff meetings to plan and identify resources that will support children’s learning.

Teachers use learning stories well to record children’s progress and identify what they will do to continue to support them. Children’s learning profiles are well presented and attractive records of their learning. Teachers clearly identify ways parents, including those of Māori descent and other cultures, can support their child’s interest at home. Teachers are encouraged to share learning stories with colleagues, who are expected to provide critical feedback on the writing before they are put in children’s profiles. This encourages a consistent approach to assessment and sharing of skills, and gives professional feedback.

Teachers provide strong primary care and are very responsive to the needs of the infants and toddlers in the nursery. They know the children well and provide focused, individualised learning programmes for them. Teachers have developed a stimulating, calm and peaceful environment that provides children with a wide range of learning experiences. This includes the use of ‘sign language’ for infants to clarify their needs.

Strong leadership by the centre manager encourages a collaborative approach to operational and organisational matters. A robust self- review process is contributing to continuous improvement of practice. The manager is focused on making good use of teachers' skills and talents to take leadership roles in self review, planning and assessment.

Within the centre, teachers are sensitive to children’s emotional needs. Transition is thoughtfully taken at the child’s pace. A well developed and planned process is in place to support children as they move into and through the centre, and on to school. Parents are an important part of the process and kept well informed. Surveys of parents and children are used to make improvements to the process.

Strong relationships with local schools are helping the transition of children out of the centre. Preparing children for school is linked strongly to the centre philosophy. Teachers help children develop attitudes and skills necessary to move on to school with confidence.

The centre has very good systems in place to guide centre developments and to foster its vision and values. These include:

  • a clear process for the development and review of policies and procedures
  • a well designed strategic plan
  • a comprehensive appraisal process, including regular formal meetings and observations of teachers
  • professional development that is individually based on teachers' learning goals
  • new teachers being well supported through an in-depth induction programme
  • the use of surveys in self review to help senior leaders to sustain and improve on practice.

Key Next Steps

The managers have identified with ERO the next steps for further improving teachers' practice. These include:

  • making better use of parents' cultural aspirations and language identified in the children’s profiles, within in learning programmes
  • formalising the appraisal process for the centre manager to ensure leadership is maintained at a high level
  • providing opportunities for centre-wide professional development for teachers to consolidate key ideas for good practice in the centre.

There are some good examples of teachers reflecting on their practice. This has helped them to focus more on what they need to do to improve the quality of their teaching. The managers agree that to improve the quality of teaching in the centre further, they could encourage all teachers to make formal use of reflective practice to improve programmes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Penny Lane Childcare 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Penny Lane Childcare Centre will be in four years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region (Acting)

29 January 2014

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service


Hoon Hay, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

75 children, including up to 25 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other Ethnicities






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 2013

Date of this report

29 January 2014

Most recent ERO reports

No previous ERO report


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.