Phoenix Preschool - 22/08/2019

1 Evaluation of Phoenix Preschool

How well placed is Phoenix Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Phoenix Preschool is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Phoenix Preschool is a community-based service providing all-day education and care for infants, toddlers and preschool children. The preschool is licensed for up to 45 children, including 13 aged under two years. Located on the grounds of Ashburton College, Phoenix Preschool operates from 8:00am-4:30pm Monday to Friday. The preschool aims to provide a rich environment that enables children to lead their learning while experiencing the world around them.

The preschool has a governing body comprising parents and community members. It has two teaching rooms, each with spacious and well-equipped outdoor areas for learning and play. The manager of teaching and learning is also a leader of learning in the Pūkeko Room with the over two-year-old children. A leader of learning supports the teaching, learning and care of children in the under two years room (Kiwi Room). Almost all of the teachers in the service are either qualified early childhood teachers or in training.

The preschool has improved the aspects of appraisal and internal evaluation identified for improvement in ERO's June 2016 review report. Phoenix Preschool is an active member of the Hakatere Kāhui Ako.

The Review Findings

A strong feature of the preschool curriculum is the positive, responsive relationships that staff build with children, parents and whānau. Children and adults are quickly made to feel welcome, respected and valued and to become familiar with all aspects of preschool life and learning. Information about the daily programme is available and the involvement of parents and whānau welcomed.

Children experience a thoughtful and responsive programme that meets their needs, strengths and interests. The spacious and well-resourced indoor and outdoor environments are prepared to offer multiple opportunities for them to learn a variety of social, physical and thinking skills and competencies. Teachers work collaboratively to ensure children are well supported and challenged across all aspects of the daily programme.

Leaders and teachers are developing a localised curriculum that is underpinned by the areas of learning outlined within Te Whāriki (The NZ curriculum for early childhood learning). They are increasingly incorporating aspects of te ao Māori in the daily programme and in their interactions and communication with parents, whānau and community.

Emphasis is placed on ensuring children’s wellbeing. Children and their whānau are well supported. Transitions into, through and out of the centre are well managed. Children with additional needs are well known and supported with their learning and care.

Routines for infants and toddlers are calm and unhurried. Each child has a key teacher who provides care that is nurturing and aligned to individual needs and experience at home. They are well supported to transition through to the Pūkeko room for older children.

The governors, leaders and teachers are improvement focused. They have established a positive organisational culture, where relational trust and collaborative ways of working support rapid improvement. Team leaders have created a culture of professional learning for staff with children as the key focus. Teacher development is well led and supported through clear strategic planning and improved teaching as inquiry and appraisal processes.

An innovative change in the service's management structure has resulted in focused leadership of teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders have engaged in a range of spontaneous evaluation that has informed change and improvement to many aspects of programmes and practices. Parent and staff opinion is regularly sought, valued and used to inform change and development.

Key Next Steps

To build consistency of practice across the preschool, governors, leaders and teachers need to ensure that:

  • the preschool's valued outcomes for children's learning are clearly defined and linked to programmes for teaching and learning
  • assessment and evaluation practices are strengthened, to better show continuity in learning against children's individual learning goals and the service's valued outcomes for children's learning
  • appraisal processes continue to be developed and formalised, to better support best practice in teaching and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Phoenix Preschool 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

22 August 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

45 children, including up to 13 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39, Girls 31

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

22 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

September 2005

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.