Puddleducks - Wananga - 13/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Puddleducks - Wananga

How well placed is Puddleducks - Wananga to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Puddleducks - Wananga is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Puddleducks - Wananga is located in Palmerston North. It was purchased by Aspiring Services Ltd in July 2018. It is one of six centres privately owned by this organisation.

The service is licensed for 40 children over two years. The current roll of 23, includes six who identify as Māori.

A board of directors undertakes the governance role. A managing director, supported by a human resources and educational leader have responsibility for overseeing strategic operation and professional practice in the centre. The centre leader is responsible for the day-to-day running of the service.

The philosophy guiding teaching and learning has been reviewed and is underpinned by the service's core values and beliefs. There is an emphasis on authentic relationships and providing a stimulating homely environment that promotes a sense of belonging. Cultural diversity is acknowledged and valued.

The Review Findings

Aspiring Services' organisational structure empowers and supports staff to implement systems and processes to promote positive learning outcomes for children. There is a considered approach to implementing change. Policy development, implementation and review have prioritised children’s health and safety, and strengthening the quality of teaching and learning.

A well-developed annual plan guides improvement. Goals focus on strengthening relationships and learning partnerships with parents and whānau, culturally responsive practices and assessment, planning and evaluation. Regular review and monitoring of progress in relation to these goals should enable management, leaders and teachers to celebrate successes and ensure positive outcomes for children remains a priority.

Respectful and caring relationships support children's engagement in self-initiated play. Children enjoy being physically active and confidently explore the new outdoor environment. They access a good range of activities and resources that enable them to follow their interests and engage in imaginative and creative play.

Teachers are responsive to the needs of children. They engage with children at their level and talk to them about decisions that affect them. Regular communication with parents and whānau maintains links between the home and centre and supports children's sense of belonging.

Assessment, planning and evaluation is appropriately identified as an area for further development. Leaders and teachers are working to improve processes and practices. They are trialling an approach to better respond to the individual needs of each child.

Children requiring additional learning support are well catered for in an inclusive environment. Teachers actively engage with parents and whānau to support children's participation in the programme. The service should develop a more proactive approach to their engagement with external agencies.

There is a considered approach to supporting the transition of children in to the centre. More time is given to the process especially for children and families from non-English speaking backgrounds.

A new professional growth and development programme is being implemented. This has been strengthened to better support provisionally certificated teachers. It is an appropriate process to support renewal and issue of practising certificates. Teacher inquiry aligned to centre priorities is usefully included as part of the evidence base.

A framework to guide internal evaluation practice is in the early stages of implementation. Strengthening a shared understanding of the purpose and use of internal evaluation across all levels of the organisation should enable managers, leaders and teachers to know the impact of new developments and how they promote positive outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Management, leaders and ERO have identified the need to:

  • regularly review and monitor progress of the annual plan to ensure positive outcomes for children remains a priority

  • continue to review and develop frameworks to support centre operations and practices

  • continue to strengthen internal evaluation to identify what is working well and what further improvements are needed.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puddleducks - Wananga 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.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

13 May 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 15, Female 8

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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

13 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2016

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.