Polyhigh Community Childcare Centre - 09/04/2019

1 Evaluation of Polyhigh Community Childcare Centre

How well placed is Polyhigh Community Childcare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Polyhigh Community Childcare Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Polyhigh Community Childcare Centre located on the campus of Wellington High School and Massey University of Wellington is governed by a parent committee. The centre operates 10 hours a day and is licensed for 50 children, including up to 20 under the age of two. Of the 59 children enrolled nine are Māori.

The centre manager oversees the day-to-day operation of the service. Assistant supervisors each lead the teaching and learning programme for the three learning areas. Most teachers are fully qualified and many are long serving.

The centre holds a gold star Healthy Heart Award and is a bronze status member of Enviroschools.

The philosophy links to the values and beliefs of its parents, families and community. It emphasises concepts of diversity, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, collaboration, partnership, belonging, environmental sustainability and a curriculum responsive to the local community. The Resources in Infant Education (RIE) and the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education are promoted within the programme.

ERO's April 2015 report identified that the service was improvement focused.

The Review Findings

Children participate and learn in a play-based programme that supports their emerging interests. Independent and collaborative small group play is fostered through activities that engage and support children to create, explore, and have fun. Older children engage in rich conversations with their peers and teachers. The environment is well-considered and promotes curiosity and participation in learning.

Infants and toddlers are able to move freely and explore in an unhurried, relaxed environment. Teachers respond respectfully to their wellbeing needs. An important next step is to evaluate the programme to determine how effectively it provides purposeful learning opportunities that are responsive to children's interests.

Children with additional needs are identified and agencies are appropriately accessed.

Teachers provide opportunities for children to sustain play independently and in groups, and enrich their learning. Relationships between teachers and children and between their peers are respectful.

Relevant learning opportunities support children of Pacific heritages. Teachers continue to develop their response to children and their aiga.

Teachers have strengthened curriculum provision through a centre-wide focus on environmentally sustainable practices and te ao Māori perspectives. Local excursions provide meaningful opportunities for older children to connect to their local environment and community. It is timely to further explore ways to strengthen the implementation of Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum to clearly articulate the learning that matters and expectations for responsive teaching practice.

Increased whānau engagement in the programme provides a clear direction and shared vision for curriculum development. Teachers engage in purposeful conversations about children's learning needs with families. Learning opportunities promote Māori children's identity. They recognise the importance of continuing to strengthen learning focused partnerships with families and further developing responsiveness to Māori learners and their whānau.

Learning portfolios provide a record of children’s interests and participation in the programme. Teachers plan for group themes. Individual planning recognises children's dispositions. Teachers focus on describing experiences and resources. A key next step is to develop teachers' shared understanding of and consistent practice in assessment. This should include:

  • better identifying children’s learning

  • reflecting children's culture, language and identity

  • showing intentional teaching strategies and responsiveness to parent and whānau aspirations

  • showing continuity and progress in children's learning.

This should enable teachers to better connect assessment to planning and evaluation of the curriculum.

Regular self review is informing change and development to promote improvement. Leaders and teachers need to develop a clear shared understanding of internal evaluation. Development of a common framework with a clear evaluative focus and indicators of good practice, should support teachers to more effectively measure outcomes for children.

A useful appraisal framework guides teacher practice. Leaders agree that further developing and strengthening the process to include clear goals, observations of teachers' practice and next steps in relation to identified areas for improvement is needed. This should support teachers to better identify the effectiveness of their practice to promote positive learning outcomes for children. Leaders should also ensure the appraisal process more clearly aligns with Teaching Council of Aotearoa requirements.

The leadership team regularly meets to discuss aspects of practice and centre operations. There are opportunities for teachers to lead aspects of curriculum development and improvement. Continuing to strengthen leadership capability and develop shared understandings is an appropriate focus. Ensuring that roles and responsibilities are well defined, and systems and processes are clear and consistently implemented, should provide a more cohesive approach to leadership.

Governance, leaders and teachers have a strong commitment to the centre. A collaboratively developed strategic action plan provides a useful framework for guiding direction and improvement. Trustees have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities and are well informed about curriculum and aspects of centre operations. It is timely for trustees and leaders, in consultation with their community, to more clearly identify indicators of valued outcomes that align to priorities for their children's learning. This should better inform areas for improvement.

As a priority, governance and leadership need to strengthen the monitoring of implementation and reporting in relation to health and safety practices. This includes identifying and managing risks for excursions, analysis, and reporting incidents and hazards.

Key Next Steps

ERO, and professional leaders agree the key next steps are to continue to:

  • develop the appraisal process

  • strengthen assessment and planning

  • develop collaborative leadership across the centre

  • strengthen internal evaluation to better inform decision making and measure the impact of the programme on children's learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Polyhigh Community 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.

ERO found an area of non-compliance in the service related to health and safety. Trustees must:

  • ensure appropriate safety checking of the workforce is undertaken and documented
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7A]

To improve practice, the early childhood service management should:

  • strengthen systems for monitoring, reviewing and reporting health and safety policies and practices.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

9 April 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

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

31 Boys, 28 Girls

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


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

January 2019

Date of this report

9 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

June 2009

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.