Puffing Billy Daycare Centre - 12/10/2017

1 Evaluation of Puffing Billy Daycare Centre

How well placed is Puffing Billy Daycare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Further development is needed to help managers and teachers align Puffing Billy Daycare Centre's learning programme with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The new centre leaders need additional and ongoing support to improve outcomes for children, management practices and internal evaluation.

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


Puffing Billy Daycare Centre provides education and care for up to 60 children, including up to 10 under two years of age. The centre occupies an older style house with extensive outdoor play areas. The indoor area is divided into three age related spaces with separate facilities, plus an administration office, shared kitchen and work area for staff.

The privately owned centre has operated since 1987. It has a loyal following in the local community, particularly among families of Māori or Pacific heritage. The employment of two Māori staff with fluency in te reo, has helped to build trusting relationships with whānau.

The positive features noted in the ERO's 2014 report are still evident. Children play cooperatively with each other, and enjoy caring and respectful relationships with staff. The report recommended improvements, including the need to establish more child-led programmes, and to improve the quality of planning and self review. Changes in centre leadership in recent years have limited progress in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children and parents are greeted warmly on arrival, often in their home languages. Children have a clear sense of belonging at the centre. They share prepared meals and nutritious snacks.

Teachers plan a structured programme with prepared activities in age-related areas. They actively involve children throughout the day. Older children can access some indoor resources, including literacy and numeracy materials that teachers select as table top activities at specific times during the day. Centre routines include outdoor play at selected times of the day and teacher-led mat times for each age group.

Children under two have a secure and stimulating indoor space with its own separate outdoor play area. Teachers in this area provide nurturing and personalised care based on each infant's home routines. Babies and toddlers enjoy creative activities, songs and music.

Teachers are developing confidence to learn phrases in te reo Māori and other home languages. The centre's commitment to biculturalism is evident in wall displays, and through daily integration of some aspects of tikanga. Teachers have made efforts to strengthen consultation with whānau Māori, who trust teachers to respect their cultural aspirations. Centre outings and closer connections with the local school are building community relationships. Teachers could use their knowledge of children and tuakana/teina relationships more effectively to support learning through mixed-age play.

Teachers have started to develop more visible planning and are making more consistent use of learning dispositions in their assessments. They notice children's interests, and their documented learning stories are shared with parents both digitally and in portfolios. These practices are beginning to engage parents as partners in children's learning. The new centre leaders will need to make greater connections between teachers recognising children's interests and their planned responses.

Current practices do not adequately support children's development as capable, confident independent learners. Children need more frequent opportunities to make decisions about their play. Structured, teacher-led activities and routines are limiting opportunities for children to persist with their play. Teachers should provide more open-ended and challenging resources that extend children's learning and encourage problem solving. Independent access to outdoor play and construction equipment would offer greater choices for learning.

The quality of leadership has been problematic in recent years. Resignations and ill health have limited progress with centre development and internal evaluation. Teachers have not been sufficiently supported to embed whole-centre professional learning. They meet regularly to discuss their planning and centre policies, but have not evaluated how well the centre is supporting children to be capable and confident learners.

The manager agrees that the two recently appointed centre leaders need additional support to rebuild the teaching team, review the philosophy and improve outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The service provider agrees that key steps in centre development include:

  • developing and implementing a centre philosophy that is clearly aligned to the goals and expectations of Te Whāriki

  • supporting teachers to plan and implement a more child-led learning programme

  • strengthening the process of internal evaluation and strategic planning to ensure ongoing centre improvement

  • building the capability of the new team leaders to progress centre-wide developments.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puffing Billy Daycare 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 curriculum and provision for health and safety. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • the alignment of centre programmes with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum

  • teachers' knowledge and application of relevant theories and practice in early childhood education

  • staff awareness of hazards in the environment, and systems for identifying, recording and minimising or eliminating hazards.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1, C4, HS12.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and 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 Puffing Billy Daycare Centre will be within two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 October 2017

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


Takanini, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 30 Girls 30

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

12 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

January 2014

Supplementary Review

December 2010

Education Review

October 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 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.