Puddleducks' Preschool (PN) - 23/06/2014

1 Evaluation of Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN)

How well placed is Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN) 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.


Puddleducks Preschool (PN) is one of five privately owned early childhood centres operating under the umbrella of Aspiring Services Ltd. It has a full day licence to cater for 43 children aged over two years in a mixed-age setting.

The philosophy emphasises that at this service, both teachers and children are considered learners. Partnerships with families and the provision of a rich environment, respectful of children’s diverse backgrounds and identities, are highly valued.

Three company directors and an advisory board undertake the governance role for all Puddleducks’ services. Two staff are acting in the head teacher position at Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN) to cover a period of parental leave. They are responsible for day-to-day operation and programme management at the centre.

All teachers are trained and registered. Three are undertaking an induction and mentoring programme to meet full teacher registration requirements.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

The philosophy underpinning the programme is well reflected in practice. Teachers prioritise the development of respectful and responsive relationships with families. An ongoing focus on whanaungatanga is strengthening links with homes and children’s heritages.

There is a rich environment for learning. Materials are presented in ways that provoke children’s interest and investigation. Opportunities for creativity and problem solving are highly developed. Children are seen as competent and are well supported to contribute to decision-making, make wise choices and lead their learning.

Teachers are attuned to children. They engage well with them to listen to their views, challenge their thinking and promote their sustained interest in play and learning. Children are confident, cooperative and settled.

There is a strong focus on children’s social and emotional wellbeing. All children have a key teacher assigned to them. Their role is to become a partner with the family in caring for the child and ensuring their needs are met. Routines and timetables remain flexible so support from a key teacher is available when needed. Transitions into the centre are carefully planned and implemented in consultation with parents and whānau.

Teachers are aware of the importance of being culturally responsive in order that all learners are suitably supported. They agree that they need to further develop their thinking around provision for learners from Pacific ethnic backgrounds.

Further development of the centre’s approach to supporting children’s transition to primary school is timely. This should include strengthening liaison with local schools and exploring links between early childhood and school programmes that can be built on in meaningful ways for children.

Teachers express commitment to continued improvement in their understanding of te ao Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership. Upto-date Ministry of Education publications have been accessed with the intention of supporting a team approach to improved provision for Māori learners. A resource person from the parent community has been identified to also help with this development.

The programme is appropriately based on individual children’s strengths, interests and ideas and linked to philosophical values. Profile books are used well to document details about children’s participation, learning and progress in the form of learning stories. There is a continued drive to integrate parents’ voices in assessment.

Regular constructive feedback from the head teacher supports improvement to teachers’ practice. Evaluation of learning outcomes needs further refinement to become a more effective driver of decision-making about the programme for individuals and the group. Written guidelines supporting teacher practice should be updated to reflect recent developments.

A positive, collaborative and professional teaching team culture is evident. The head teacher strongly focuses the team on improving learning outcomes for children. A new ‘growth and development programme’, linked to professional teaching requirements, is being implemented. This involves all teachers in research-based inquiries that are challenging their thinking and leading to the implementation of new initiatives.

Strengthening the quality of feedback to teachers about their practice should enhance the approach. Further consideration should also be given to ensuring all teacher development needs are identified and supported through the programme.

Self review is valued as a tool to promote improvement. It is undertaken collaboratively by teachers in response to issues. Refining understanding of a more evaluative and strategic approach should better support decision-making about development of the programme and aspects of operation.

A well-organised approach to governance is evident. Centre owners and managers are committed to the development of the service as a highly professional organisation characterised by innovative and sound practice and positive learning outcomes for children.

High expectations for staff practice and behaviour are clearly stated. A good range of documents guide teaching practice. Generous benefits support staff wellbeing. Succession planning is in place to ensure sustainability.

Key Next Steps

ERO, centre managers and leaders agree that they need to continue to refine:

  • in collaboration with whānau, their thinking around what constitutes success for Māori children, as Māori, at the centre
  • support for children’s transition to primary school
  • self review so it is more evaluative and strategic.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN) 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 Puddleducks’ Preschool (PN) will be in four years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

23 June 2014

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

43 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 30, Boys 24

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

23 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

May 2006


Education Review

November 2003

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.