Pennylane Early Childhood Centre - 30/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Pennylane Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Pennylane Early Childhood 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.


Pennylane Early Childhood Centre provides full-day education and care for up to 85 children, aged from birth to school age. It is a modern, purpose-built centre providing welcoming and inclusive environments for children, parents and whānau. The service is made up of a nursery and a preschool. Each of these have two classrooms with an adjoining outdoor area.

The service owners have made a number of improvements including considerable development of the outside environments.

A manager and two teacher mentors who lead the nursery and preschool help manage the daily operation of this service. This includes overseeing the curriculum and providing support for teaching and learning. Most staff are fully qualified and certificated early childhood teachers.

The owners and manager maintain an emphasis on child-directed learning and play and wellbeing of staff and children. They have addressed a number of areas identified for improvement in the 2014 ERO report. This includes:

  • integrating the language and culture of parents and whānau within learning programmes
  • ongoing professional development
  • strengthening the appraisal process and teachers' use of reflective practice.

The Review Findings

The leaders have a shared commitment to ongoing improvement. The strategic plan is improvement focussed, known to staff, and clearly outlines the direction of the service. The leaders have introduced a number of useful structures to promote positive outcomes for children. These include an increased emphasis on collaboration, distributed leadership, and support for high-quality teaching and learning. The vision and philosophy are well formed and evident in practice.

The curriculum encourages children to explore their interests and lead their own learning. Teachers quickly establish trusting, respectful relationships with children. They know the children well. Positive relationships with parents and whānau are actively fostered.

Teachers prepare a rich range of authentic and interesting opportunities to engage children in learning. They provide well-planned and resourced experiences and activities that respond to children's emerging interests and cultural backgrounds. They make use of the natural environment in and out of the centre.

Teachers are intentional in the way they make the most of opportunities to progress children's individual learning. They work alongside children, empowering them to make decisions about their learning. They skilfully integrate aspects of Māori language and culture into daily learning. Children are purposefully supported to develop self-management skills. Their views are carefully listened to and they are well supported to develop and extend their ideas.

Teachers actively promote the wellbeing of children under two and their sense of belonging within the centre. Deliberate planning ensures smooth transitions into and across the centre. Teachers meaningfully integrate Māori language and culture into the daily programme. They give thoughtful and genuine responses to children's cultural connections and draw on whānau aspirations for rich and relevant learning. Children benefit from tuakana-teina relationships, where older children support and learn alongside younger children. Thoughtful consideration is given to the selection of the teacher who takes major responsibility for care and learning of each child.

There is a clear focus on improvement which is evident in:

  • a strategic focus for developing teachers' professional practice and management structures and resourcing that supports this
  • the ongoing use of evaluation to inform decisions made for teaching and learning
  • the regular collection and use of staff and whānau survey information to guide improvement.

Assessment and planning is well documented, based on children's interests and strengths and informed by input from parents. Teachers make the learning visible for children to revisit and for whānau to contribute to and support. The best examples of assessment show specific goals, child and parent voice, teaching strategies, next learning steps and clear progressions in learning, with inclusion of cultural goals and aspirations.

Key Next Steps

The centre owners and ERO agree that the leaders need to extend internal evaluation to add value for management and teachers by:

  • ongoing monitoring and evaluation of strategic priorities

  • aligning appraisal goals for teachers and leaders with strategic development priorities

  • evaluating the impact of improvements on outcomes for children, including the newly introduced mentor role.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pennylane Early Childhood 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 Pennylane Early Childhood Centre will be in four years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

30 April 2018

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

85 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 60 Boys: 59

Ethnic composition



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

February 2018

Date of this report

30 April 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

January 2014

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.