Pipitea Childcare Centre - 06/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Pipitea Childcare Centre>

How well placed is Pipitea Childcare 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.


Pipitea Childcare Centre is a non-profit parent and teacher cooperative located in Thorndon, Wellington. The management committee is responsible for governance and is made up of elected parents. The convenor of the committee is new to the role.

The centre provides all-day education and care for 29 children aged six months to five years. The centre is separated into two adjoining areas, one for children up to two years and one for those between two and five years. Each area is led by a head teacher, with oversight by the centre manager.

Since the April 2015 ERO report, leaders and teachers have participated in the Ministry of Education funded programme Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO). The focus of this has been on developing self-review practices.

Some progress has been made towards addressing the next steps identified in the 2015 ERO report. Areas for development included: assessment, planning and evaluation; developing a culturally responsive curriculum; and self review. Developing a shared understanding of effective teaching practice and appraisal remain areas for further improvement. Areas of non-compliance have been rectified.

The Review Findings

Children are engaged in a play-based curriculum. Some redevelopment of the building has enabled children over two to more freely access play space and resources. Teachers work alongside children, supporting them in their play. They know children and families well. The curriculum is extended through a range of planned events and excursions into the surrounding neighbourhood and beyond. The centre has identified that a next step is to develop a shared understanding of effective teaching practice for children over two.

Infants' and toddlers' physical development is effectively supported. Teachers are warm and welcoming to the children and their families. Teachers in this area have worked to align their practice with Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) and Pikler teaching philosophies, with a focus on respectful and responsive interactions. This is evident at times. Leadership effectively promotes a clear understanding of effective teaching practice and expectations in this area.

There is currently a strong emphasis on group narratives in assessment documents. Although these show children's engagement in the programme and their developing friendships, more work is required to assess and plan for children's ongoing learning. Leaders agree that a next step is to focus on individual planning and assessment. Significant and urgent development in this area is required to assist teachers to:

  • add depth and complexity to children's play

  • better highlight how children have progressed over time, and how planned and responsive teaching has supported this progress

  • reflect children's cultures, languages and identities throughout the curriculum.

A bicultural focus, as outlined in the centre philosophy, is not yet strongly evident in practice.

The centre's philosophy states practice is to have a bicultural focus. This is not yet strongly evident. Further embedding te reo me ngā tikanga Māori would benefit all children. Teachers should actively support children's understanding and celebration of the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A useful self-review process has been established. Reviews occur regularly, are collaborative, and focus on improvement. The focus of these should shift to be more evaluative in order to determine the impact of practices on improving outcomes for children and include: the use of evaluative questions; indicators of success; and targeted gathering and analysis of evidence.

Leadership has shown a strong commitment to ongoing development within the centre. Teachers have been supported to collaborate on a shared philosophy to guide practice. They have engaged in a range of professional development opportunities.

Performance management and appraisal systems have recently been implemented, however, this requires improvement. A clear procedure to guide purposeful, improvement-focused appraisal should be developed. Enactment of this procedure should challenge teachers to continually improve their practice.

A clear process for supporting provisionally-certificated teachers through their registration has been established. These teachers need further guidance about developing their evidential portfolio for teacher endorsement.

The centre's committee has indicated its support for ongoing centre improvement. Induction guidelines are now in place and roles and responsibilities of members are clear. A useful system for regular policy review is now established. Teachers and management collaborate to regularly inform the committee about centre priorities and curriculum. The annual plan has been improved and effectively guides centre operation. 

Key Next Steps

As a priority leaders and teachers should establish a clear and shared understanding of effective teaching practice for children aged over two years. Agreed expectations for practice should then be clearly reflected in interactions, assessment and planning documentation, and monitored through appraisal.

ERO and leaders agree that further refinements are required to the following:

  • assessment, planning and evaluation, to focus on individual children's learning journeys

  • self review, to give more attention to evaluating and monitoring the impact of practices on outcomes for children

  • appraisal, so that this is in line with expectations set out by the Education Council. This should include targeted observations of practice with critical feedback focused on improvement

  • management and teaching mentoring, so that support is given to provisionally certificated teachers to develop a robust evidential portfolio for teacher endorsement.


Leaders agree with ERO's recommendation that the centre develop an action plan, clearly outlining how they will address the next steps identified in this report. ERO will monitor the centre's progress against this plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pipitea 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.

Leaders should ensure that centre practices consistently align with regulatory requirements, particularly in relation to health and safety practices. To improve practice they should:

  • improve excursion records
  • secure or remove objects likely to fall and injure children and teachers
  • ensure glass and mirrors, which are not safety glass, are covered with adhesive film.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pipitea Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

6 March 2017 

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


Thorndon, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

29 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21, Boys 11

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

December 2016

Date of this report

6 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

April 2012

Education Review

March 2008

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.