Plum Tree Preschool - 24/03/2013

1 Evaluation of the Service

How well placed is the service to promote positive outcomes for children?

Plum Tree Preschool is developing its capacity to promote positive outcomes for children.


This is the first ERO review of Plum Tree Preschool. This centre opened in late 2011 and was fully licensed in 2012. It is situated on the border of the growing housing developments in Silverdale.

Although this centre is licensed to cater for infants, toddlers and older children, Plum Tree Preschool caters mainly for children over two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, there were no children enrolled under the age of two. The owner’s second centre nearby opened in 2012 and caters mainly for children under the age of two.

Plum Tree Preschool has a Christian-based philosophy and is inter-denominational. There is one full-time teacher on site who is supported by the owner/manager. A third teacher provides additional support, as required. All are qualified early childhood teachers.

The Review Findings

Children at Plum Tree Preschool benefit from the warm, caring relationships that are evident in their interactions with teachers. The centre is welcoming to all children and their parents, whānau and aiga. Parents speak favourably of the sense of family and the individual attention children receive from teachers.

Teachers plan a variety of activities for children. While this planning is teacher initiated, there is good evidence that the programme evolves in response to children’s emerging interests. Children select easily accessible resources and settle quickly into play on their own, or alongside others. They interact politely with, and are kind to each other.

The owner/manager is developing a framework and systematic approach to guide the centre’s self review. The owner and teachers are working together to improve their understanding of effective self review. They have already identified the need to further build teachers’ knowledge of, and appropriate practices in, te reo and tikanga Māori. Further self review could focus on the extent to which teachers provide meaningful learning contexts for children that help them to make sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.

Priorities to improve teaching and learning in this centre are for teachers to work together to:

  • develop and implement a shared philosophy that guides teaching and learning, and promotes a commitment to inclusive, bicultural practices
  • incorporate early literacy and mathematical learning into the context of play
  • review the extent to which the learning environment and resources provide appropriate challenges and provoke children’s interest
  • review children’s individual assessment portfolios in order to make more effective use of information to extend children’s learning.

The owner/manager provides professional development for her staff. It would be a worthwhile imitative now to access external professional development to enable teachers to identify how to adapt their teaching practices in response to children’s emerging interests.

Future management priorities in centre development are to:

  • develop a strategic plan that clearly identifies priorities for high quality care and education, and ongoing plans on how to achieve these
  • ensure that performance management processes, including the advice and guidance programme for provisionally registered teachers, are robust and improvement focused
  • further develop self review to monitor and focus on the effectiveness of processes and practices, leadership and learning, and progress towards goals and outcomes.

The owner/manager should also ensure that clearly documented policies and procedures guide the operation of the centre, and that any necessary documents, such as the centre licence and staff qualifications are clearly displayed. It would be useful for the owner/manager to seek external regular appraisal from a registered teacher to maintain her own registration.

2 Legal Requirements

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Plum Tree 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.

To comply with legal requirements, the owner/manager should now ensure that appropriate documentation and records are developed and maintained to demonstrate that:

  • appraisal includes all staff
  • police vetting is thorough
  • an annual plan guides centre operations
  • potential hazards have been identified and managed
  • parents have given prior written approval for special outings
  • the complaints policy includes referral to the Ministry of Education.

[Education (ECC) Regulations 2008, R47, Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008].

3 Next Review

When is ERO likely to review the early childhood service again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 March 2013

Information about the Early Childhood Service


Silverdale, Hibiscus Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

All Day Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

10 children, including up to 5 aged under 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 4 Girls 3

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Exceeds minimum requirements


Over 2


Exceeds minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2012

Date of this report

25 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports 


General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

About ERO Reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the New Zealand government department that reviews schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

Review focus

ERO's education reviews in early childhood services focus on the factors that contribute to positive learning outcomes for children. ERO evaluates how well placed the service is to make and sustain improvements for the benefit of all children at the service. To reach these findings ERO considers:

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 self review and partnerships with parents and whānau.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of service performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.