Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata - 11/04/2016

1 Evaluation of Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata

How well placed is Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata 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.


Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata is a total immersion community-based Samoan Aoga Amata. It provides education and care for 35 children from two years to school age. The Aoga is one of two centres governed by the Fountain Knowledge Trust Board, a not-for-profit organisation.

At the time of this review the centre had been moved from the Southern Cross Campus to the grounds of Robertson Road School and was on a temporary licence while its facilities were refurbished. Since the review the centre has relocated back to its new facilities at Southern Cross. Positive negotiations are underway to plan a purpose-built facility to support the Samoan language pathway into the Samoan bilingual classes at Robertson Road School.

A centre manager oversees the operational and administrative aspects of the two centres. An administration person supports the centre manager, and a supervisor provides professional curriculum leadership.

Since the 2011 ERO review the centre has been relicensed to meet 2008 Early Childhood Education Regulations. The 2011 ERO report identified that teachers consistently used and promoted gagana and aganu’u Samoa with adults and children, and this continues to be a key feature of the aoga. Since 2011 the teaching team, including the supervisor, are all new.

The centre’s philosophy is enacted through children’s identity, language and culture. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guides the programme.

The Review Findings

Children and teachers are enjoying their new spacious facility. The management team and teachers have given much consideration to ensuring children experience a smooth transition to the new premises and have been successful in achieving this outcome.

Children appear happy and settled. They engage in activities and talk enthusiastically with adults. Children are confident, independent and trust that teachers are available to support them. Teachers and parents are pleased that children have settled easily into the centre. Children are familiar with centres routines, and actively participate in them.

The centre’s curriculum is immersed in gagana and aganu’u Samoa. Teachers provide learning programmes that are culturally appropriate and responsive to children’s needs and interests. Samoan ways of being, thinking and behaving are modelled by skilful teachers who are also fluent speakers of the Samoan language. Children confidently respond to teachers in gagana Samoa. They also learn te reo Māori and can sing a variety of Māori waiata.

Centre managers have a commitment to strengthening relationships with local tangata whenua and to maintaining bicultural partnership at both governance level and at centre level. A local kaumatua gives advice and support to staff and management on Māori values and beliefs.

The centre environment is well resourced and inviting. It provides children with a strong sense of their identity, culture and language. Children play well with each other and have formed positive friendships.

Teachers are respectful of children and have good relationships with parents, aiga and the trust board. Centre leaders have made improvements to the centre’s learning programme. They are guided by Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum. Regular meetings help teachers to develop their curriculum planning and assessment practices. Teachers could further improve programmes by gaining deeper understandings of early childhood theories about children’s learning.

Centre leaders and teachers work well together. With the support of early learning advisors they are improving their understanding and use of self review as a way to continually improve the quality of practice. Centre leaders agree that teachers could also use self review to:

  • further develop planning for individual children’s interests

  • guide the development of a more complex child-initiated programme

  • evaluate children’s learning stories to show progress, development and further learning opportunities.

Management systems continue to provide a framework for the smooth operation of the centre. The centre manger provides strong professional leadership, ensuring a focus on the centre’s philosophy, policies and self-review.

The centre manager has high expectations of teachers to provide a good quality curriculum that benefits children. Teacher performance appraisals are aligned to the aoga philosophy, policies and procedures and appraisal practices meet the requirements of the New Zealand Education Council. Aoga leaders agree that appraisal processes could include formally documented links to the Ministry of Education documentTātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Key Next Steps

Trustees and centre leaders agree that teachers should continue to enhance their curriculum and self-review processes to further promote outcomes for children. Key next steps include:

  • evaluating the impact of teachers’ practice in supporting children to lead their own learning
  • writing learning stories that show children’s progress over time
  • making more use of the information parents share about their children in centre planning and assessment practices
  • engaging children more deeply in conversations about their learning.

In order to strengthen governance and management practices, including self-review practices, trustees agree that they should:

  • develop an effective strategic plan for the aoga that links to an annual plan, and monitor and evaluate progress towards meeting strategic planning goals over time

  • support aoga leaders to access professional learning to strengthen their leadership and management capability

  • ensure that employment/personnel policies and procedures include and follow current legislation requirements.

ERO also recommends that trustees review their governance manual so that it aligns to New Zealand’s current regulatory requirements and practice, and to the centre’s organisational structure and philosophy.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata 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 Puna O Le Atamai Aoga Amata will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

11 April 2016

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


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 19 Boys 15

Ethnic composition




Cook Island Māori











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

December 2015

Date of this report

11 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2011

Education Review

June 2008

Education Review

June 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.