Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School - 20/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School

How well placed is Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School 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.


Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-school is an early childhood centre operating from the Christian Congregational Church of Samoa in Dunedin. It is licensed for 45 children from babies to school age. Gagana Samoa is encouraged as the main language used in the centre.

The centre’s diverse community is predominantly Samoan, Tongan, Māori and Pākehā. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is acknowledged and guides the centre’s commitment to bicultural practice. A good adult to child ratio allows flexibility in the programme.

ERO’s 2013 report noted that aspects of centre governance and management required further improvement. In response to ERO’s recommendations the management committee has made significant improvements in centre practices. This is resulting in positive outcomes for children.

The centre’s philosophy aims to provide a caring and educational environment for children of all cultures, embedded in the Samoan values of alofa/love, fa’aaloalo/respect, and tautua/service. The programme provides a commitment to preparing children for future education.

The Review Findings

Good progress has been made since ERO’s 2013 report. Positive and respectful relationships between teachers, children and their parents/whānau give each child and their family a sense of belonging. Interactions with children are sensitive and children settle quickly when they arrive. Friendships between children are well established. Children participate in sustained play, either independently or with teachers.

The programme strongly promotes and supports Pacific children’s identity, cultures and languages. This is further supported by teachers who are fluent speakers of children’s home languages. Children from Pacific Island nations hear their own and their friends’ languages valued and spoken in the programme. Teachers’ commitment to using te reo Māori in the context of children’s play is also strongly evident.

Teachers working with infants and toddlers are affectionate and caring. Parents ERO spoke to appreciate teachers’ responsive practices that support infants and toddlers sense of belonging and wellbeing. A separate area is provided for them to play and explore. Teachers now need to review their programme for infants and toddlers to ensure that they promote positive learning outcomes for this group.

Teachers’ knowledge of children’s languages and culture contributes positively to children’s engagement in the programme. Parents are encouraged to share their child’s experiences from home and teachers share information with families/whānau about the child’s time in the centre. Teachers deliberately include numeracy and literacy in children’s play and should continue to develop these areas of learning.

Teachers’ planning is based on children’s emerging interests and community events. Teachers work well together and demonstrate professional understanding of their roles. Good management systems are in place to support teachers although centre managers agrees that reflective practice is still developing. Further support is needed to strengthen how effectively teachers evaluate intended learning outcomes for children.

The centre environment is welcoming and attractive. The large outdoor area invites exploration and encourages children’s creative play. Activities build children’s confidence and enable them to acquire new skills as well as enjoying physical challenges. The management committee should now work with teachers to further enrich the programme. The indoor environment could encourage greater curiosity and creativity. Resources should be more open-ended and available to children for longer periods.

To increase participation the management committee has bought two vans to assist in picking up and dropping off children. Teachers transport children and build relationships with families by sharing child’s learning and development. These talanoa are further shared with staff in meetings that contribute to programme plans. It would be useful for teachers to formally document parents’ aspirations for their children.

The centre manager oversees the daily operations and administration of the centre. The two head teachers manage the programme and provide support and guidance for their team of teachers. Team building and professional development has had a positive impact on the programme and professional practice. Teachers facilitate smooth transitions for children into, through and out of the centre.

Significant improvements have resulted from management restructuring. A new governance and management committee has been formed consisting of the pastor, teachers, centre manager, church members and parents. The committee has developed a strategic direction for the centre, promoted the centre’s vision, reviewed its policy framework and managed sustainable improvements.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that next steps for improving outcomes for children include:

  • providing consistent staffing to build continuity and quality in the infant and toddlers programme
  • reviewing the provision of literacy, mathematics, science and technology in the curriculum programme
  • using key values of the centre philosophy to encourage children to take better care of resources and the environment
  • strengthening the use of self review to identify areas for improvement in teaching and learning.

To further develop good management practice, centre leaders agree that they could:

  • implement the centre’s strategic plan and monitor progress towards achieving the centre’s vision and goals
  • strengthen teacher appraisal by including evidence-based requirements relating to the Practicing Teacher Criteria
  • define the roles and responsibilities of members and the centre manager in the management committee constitution
  • develop a budget in consultation with the centre manager and staff that sufficiently prioritises children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School 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.

In order to improve current practice centre leaders should clearly account for income sources in the budget, including how Ministry of Education equity funding is used and information is shared with parents and whānau of the centre.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Punavai Ole Atamai Pre-School will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

20 January 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 31 Girls 22

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori








Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

20 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s) 

Education Review

August 2013


Education Review

January 2011


Education Review

April 2006

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.