Pukekos Educare - 23/06/2014

1 Evaluation of Pukekos Educare

How well placed is Pukekos Educare 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.


Pukekos Educare is situated at Paeroa. The centre provides all-day education and care for children up to five years old from Paeroa and surrounding districts, in a mixed-age setting. Of the 45 children on the roll, two are under years old and 12 are identified as Māori. The centre is owned by the managing director who also owns and manages Pukekos Educare centres in the nearby towns of Thames and Ngatea. She is assisted in overseeing all three centres by the recently appointed principal. The teaching team includes four qualified early childhood teachers and one in training.

The centre has a positive reporting history with ERO. The previous 2011 ERO report identified high-quality professional and collaborative leadership, a reflective culture and robust self review. It found that teachers effectively extended children’s thinking and knowledge. A feature was the establishment of strong partnerships with families. Since 2011, the managing director and her team have continued to enhance all aspects of service performance, including the quality of the learning environment. The managing director has also strengthened the collaborative leadership and management of the three Pukekos Educare centres.

The philosophy of Pukekos Educare Centres is to provide a place where children, teachers and families can be themselves. Respect, communication, relationships and working together are highly valued. These beliefs and attitudes are reflected in practices throughout the centre. A calm, family-like environment is provided for infants, toddlers and young children.

The Review Findings

Children are capable and confident learners and communicators. A feature of the programme is the high level of sustained, cooperative and imaginative play, and meaningful conversations between children. Friendships and gentle and caring interactions are evident amongst children of all ages. Many children demonstrate well-developed problem solving and negotiation skills.

Adult relationships and interactions with children are positive, respectful and caring. Teachers know the children well and are very responsive to their questions and emerging interests. They skilfully foster the development of social, language and thinking skills, and support children to explore their own ideas and to express themselves creatively. Learning about literacy, mathematics, science, computer technology and caring for the environment is integrated throughout the programme. Teachers are in the process of reviewing how effectively they encourage children’s thinking and critical reflection.

In preparation for transition to school, four-year-old children participate in the ‘Whā Club’. This provides opportunities for them to learn about literacy, numeracy and their community by exploring topics of interest. At the ‘Wha Club’ children also learn about aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori, local Māori history, and concepts such as whakapapa and whanaungatanga. Teachers are increasingly using te reo Māori in daily routines and informal conversations. Children confidently sing, say karakia, and mihi in Māori.

High-quality, attractive e-portfolios document individual children’s learning and demonstrate their progress over time. Portfolio entries are shared digitally with parents and children at the centre, and families discuss these at home. Parents have opportunities to participate in twice-yearly parent interviews. This enhances the home-centre partnership by giving parents a voice in programme assessment and planning. Wall displays celebrate children’s achievements and make their learning visible to parents and teachers. Well-illustrated books of previous programme planning encourage children to revisit and further explore their learning and interests.

High-quality, stimulating and attractively presented learning environments make the centre very welcoming for children and parents. Children of all ages can independently access a wide variety of equipment, resources and natural materials. The outdoor area maximises opportunities for gardening, social play and exploration.

Teachers’ interactions with infants and toddlers are respectful warm and nurturing. A full-time teaching team provides consistent care that supports very young children to form trusting relationships with a variety of adults, and fosters early language development. Teachers work closely with parents and whānau to identify and respond to children’s individual needs and routines. Infants and toddlers have many opportunities to become confident communicators and explorers in a mixed age setting. Parents have daily opportunities to discuss any matters relating to their children.

The managing director is an experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic professional leader with strong networks. She has a clear vision for continuing strategic development and has made good use of current theory and recognised best practice in early childhood education, to develop 'The Pukekos Way'. This approach is based on high-quality cooperative leadership. Carefully planned professional development, and inclusive self review, ensures consistent implementation of the Pukekos philosophy by long-serving and newly appointed teachers. Shared staff leadership encourages teachers to take responsibility for centre tasks and decision making. Strong management systems, including a robust staff appraisal process, reflect the shared understandings and high expectations of managers and teachers. Extensive self review has resulted in continual improvements for children and families.

Key Next Steps

The managing director and centre representatives agree that priorities for future development are to:

  • more frequently monitor and evaluate self-review outcomes, such as those relating to the recent review of te Ao Māori
  • continue to review routines practices to ensure that opportunities for child-led activities and experiences are maximised
  • continue to develop centre resources and enhance partnerships and practices to support transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pukekos Educare 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 Pukekos Educare will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

33 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 25

Boys 20

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

23 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011


Education Review

August 2008


Education Review

October 2005

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.