Piccolo Preschool - 07/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Piccolo Preschool

How well placed is Piccolo Preschool 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.


Piccolo Preschool is a privately-owned service, established in 2016 in Welbourne, New Plymouth. The centre caters for families from within the New Plymouth community as well as students from the adjacent Western Institute of Technology in New Plymouth. It is licensed for 31 children from two to school age. Of the 43 children enrolled ten are Māori.

The owner has responsibility for management and governance. She is supported by the preschool manager with professional leadership of the team. All teachers are qualified.

The service philosophy emphasises the importance of a family-like environment that encourages secure reciprocal relationships through respectful teaching in collaboration with whānau. The preschool is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.

Key next steps in the May 2015 ERO evaluation, under the service name of Polytots Early Learning Centre, a previous service with the same licence number, were to continue to refine the curriculum and self review. Progress is evident.

This is the first ERO report for Piccolo Preschool.

The Review Findings

The valued learning outcomes described in the preschool philosophy are evident in practice. Children are engaged and encouraged to be self-motivated, creative, expressive and imaginative. They confidently participate in the well-established daily routines. Teachers effectively promote children's social skills and behaviour development, encouraging respect for others.

The purposefully developed environment is strongly reflective of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. An emphasis on nature-based learning experiences and environmental sustainability are reflected in the outdoor environment.

The programme is responsive to individual children’s interests and needs. Literacy, mathematics, science and creativity are well integrated into learning experiences and through the use of natural and open-ended resources. There is some weaving of te ao Māori through the programme. Reflecting this learning, through the curriculum, would further support, respect and value the language, culture and identity of Māori children.

A well-connected cycle of assessment of children's learning linked to planning and evaluation of teaching strategies is not yet fully implemented. Teachers use a range of suitable planning and monitoring strategies and make clear and useful assessments of children's ongoing progress. This information is regularly shared with parents. Leaders agree that strengthening programme evaluation by making clear and specific judgements about the effectiveness of teaching strategies, should improve planning for learning.

Children with diverse learning needs benefit from teachers' highly inclusive practices. Close, relationships with whānau and support agencies are in place.

Transitions into the preschool are sensitively managed. Teachers prioritise the development of a strong sense of belonging for both children and their families.

Leaders have developed meaningful relationships with local schools. A range of strategies, including assessment documentation further support children's confidence when transitioning to school.

Effective annual appraisals are in place. Teachers' goals and professional learning opportunities are aligned to the centre’s strategic direction and philosophy. Mentoring and regular feedback challenges them to improve their practice.

Teachers and leaders actively engage in a range of reviews to inform decision making and ongoing improvement. A next step is to fully embed the recently developed internal evaluation framework that should enable teachers to better evaluate the impact of their practices on outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that the key next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • the planning and use of intentional teaching strategies, within assessment, planning and evaluation documentation

  • a stronger focus on the impact of practices on Māori children's learning outcomes

  • the evaluative aspect of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Piccolo 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Piccolo Preschool will be in three years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

7 June 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


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

31 children over two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26, Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

7 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

August 2013

Education Review

August 2010

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.