Pipitea Childcare Centre - 23/04/2015

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

Pipitea Childcare centre requires external support to develop:

  • curriculum development
  • programme assessment, planning and evaluation
  • effective teaching
  • systems and processes that support teachers to improve their performance
  • an effective self-review process
  • a positive learning environment.

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. It is owned by an incorporated society and was originally established to cater for the children of public servants. The management committee is responsible for governance and comprises of elected parents. All present members were new to the committee in mid-2014.

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 children between two and five years.

Since the April 2012 ERO report there have been significant changes in leadership and staffing. During this time the centre was without a permanent manager for 12 months. A new manager was appointed at the end of 2014. In this context, the areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report have not been addressed. Ongoing improvements at the centre are not evident.

In November 2014, the Ministry of Education provided a programme of support through the Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) programme in response to concerns raised by parents.

The Review Findings

Children have positive relationships with their teachers. They were observed by ERO as being confident and content. They cooperate well with each other and make choices about their play. Children are eager participants in adult-initiated play scenarios. Examples of good learning conversations are evident between teachers and children.

There is need to establish a curriculum that is: designed to promote positive outcomes for children; based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum; and enacts the centre’s vision and philosophy.

Teachers need significant external support to plan for, consistently assess and effectively evaluate children’s learning. Bicultural and multicultural provision needs strengthening. Centre leaders have acknowledged the need to review and develop the current philosophy.

Teachers need support to improve their practice. A clear and shared understanding of what effective teaching is needed. Teachers do not have the opportunity to participate in a performance management process that promotes their individual professional development.

Parents spoken with by ERO are positive about the level of care the centre provides and how it promotes children’s wellbeing. Good communication through informal daily conversations keeps families well informed about their child’s welfare. Their views and aspirations for their children’s learning are sought.

Good systems are in place to meet children’s physical needs. Healthy and nutritious food is prepared on site for meals and snacks. Teachers of children up to two years are sensitive to the needs of the infants and toddlers. An identified key teacher provides a focal point for care and contact.

The outdoor environment is well designed. It offers physical challenge and creates interest to invite further exploration. Natural resources and cultural symbols are visible in areas of the environment.

Portfolios provide parents with a good record of children’s experience and participation in centre activities. Some records show learning and progress and should be used to guide further development and establish greater consistency.

A process for self review for improvement has not been in place since the previous ERO review. Progress is not evident in making changes to practice that respond effectively to children’s learning. The recently appointed centre manager and the newly elected committee have identified a range of areas that require improvement. The SELO programme of support is assisting leaders to plan how they might address the development of self review, governance and curriculum.

The strategic plan sets out centre priorities for improvement. The annual plan however lacks clear and measurable goals linked to outcomes for children’s learning. The roles and responsibilities of centre staff require review to ensure there is greater cohesion to improve the quality of systems and administration.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers, in consultation with parents, need to design a curriculum that promotes positive learning and responds to the cultural backgrounds of all children. Teachers should then develop effective processes for assessing, planning and evaluating children’s learning.

To better support teachers to improve their performance, centre leaders should:

  • establish clear guidelines for effective teaching at the centre
  • design and fully implement an effective performance management process
  • target professional learning to meet teachers' individual needs
  • encourage teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their own practice for promoting positive outcomes for children.

Leaders and ERO agreed that the environment needs to be reviewed and developed to:

  • promote free access to areas and resources for all, so that children can follow their interests
  • reflect the centre’s philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.
  • stimulate children’s intellectual, dramatic and creative play
  • be calm and settled, promoting positive social interactions and children’s wellbeing.

The committee, centre leaders, and teachers need to improve self review by:

  • establishing a shared understanding of self review
  • developing a robust framework and process.

Once in place self review should then be used to systematically inquire into and evaluate the effectiveness of policies programmes and practices. Findings can then be used to inform decision making that should improve the quality of practice and promote positive outcomes for children.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to:

  • police vetting
  • review of policies and procedures
  • performance management
  • self review
  • curriculum
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • police vet all adults on appointment and then at least every three years who have unsupervised access to children at the centre Education Act 1989 [sections 319D to 319FA/FE]
  • plan, implement, and evaluate a curriculum that is designed to enhance children’s learning and development through the provision of learning experiences, responds to the learning interests, strengths, culture and capabilities of children
  • ensure the service curriculum is informed by assessment, planning, and evaluation (documented and undocumented) that demonstrates an understanding of children’s learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts
  • take all reasonable steps to provide staff employed or engaged in the service with adequate professional support, professional development opportunities, and resources
  • develop and implement a process for reviewing and evaluating the service's operation (for example, learning and teaching practices, philosophy, policy and procedures) by the people involved in the service. This should include a schedule showing timelines for planned review of different areas of operation
  • ensure appropriate procedures and practices are in place and implemented for fire and earthquake.Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C 1 and 2; HS 4 and 8; GMA4, 6 and 7

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develop a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

23 April 2015

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

Boys 20,

Girls 13

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







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 2015

Date of this report

23 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2012


Education Review

March 2008


Supplementary Review

March 2006

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.