Rainbow Cottage - 31/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Rainbow Cottage

How well placed is Rainbow Cottage 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.


Rainbow Cottage is a privately owned education and care service located in Whangamata. It is licensed to provide all-day education and care for children from birth to school age. The roll is currently 40 and includes 11 children aged under two years. The current owners bought the centre in 2010 following an ERO review that identified significant areas requiring improvement. Since that time all of these areas have been comprehensively addressed, the roll has grown and there is a new team of teachers in place. Teachers are well qualified and those in training are supported by centre leaders to study and to take part, with other teachers, in ongoing professional learning. The eight Māori children are well supported. Their identity is affirmed throughout the environment, regular assessments and through many meaningful opportunities for whānau involvement.

The centre philosophy emphasises family involvement, strong relationships at all levels and the provision of a safe secure environment. Children can choose to pursue their interests and take increasing responsibility for their own learning.

There are separate areas for children under two years and for older children. Teachers ensure there are opportunities for children to mix, learn alongside each other and for older children to support younger ones with their communication, exploration and learning.

The Review Findings

Since buying the centre in 2010, the current owners have established a service that is very well placed to promote positive outcomes for children. The owner, who is also the professional leader, is providing high-quality leadership for teachers and the wider parent community. She has established an inclusive culture of education and care where input from families is continually sought. There is shared ownership of centre direction and developments.

The centre is well supported by parents who are active participants in their child’s learning and development. Parents are able to make a contribution to programme planning and communicate with teachers openly and frequently about their children. The participation of families in local community events, including Matariki, has been pivotal in raising the profile of the service in the Whangamata community. Relationships have been established with local schools and this is enabling improved transition for children as they move to the next stage of their learning.

The strategic plan provides a sound foundation for review and continuous improvement. It clearly sets out a plan for ongoing centre development and is focused on children’s learning and teacher professional growth. The centre leader and teachers have a sound working understanding of self review. Review processes are planned, systematic and deliberate. This approach is placing the centre in a strong position to maintain a culture of continuous improvement for children and families.

Teachers welcome parents warmly into the centre and take pride in maintaining open and responsive relationships with children and families. The teaching team is collaborative and strongly dedicated to providing a quality early childhood service. Teachers have undertaken ongoing professional development and have used this learning to reflect on their practice and continually enhance the quality of education and care provided. Parents are kept informed about teacher learning and are able to learn alongside teachers, sharing information about child development and successful teaching strategies.

Children aged under two years are catered for in a calm, settled and nurturing environment. They are able to explore, communicate and be involved in decisions about their learning. Care routines are managed sensitively and teachers engage with these young children responsively and respectfully.

Teachers skilfully observe children learning. This enables them to plan a programme that is responsive to children’s interests and ideas. The programme effectively promotes early literacy and mathematical learning while maintaining an ongoing focus on building children’s social competence. The centre environment allows children access to a wide range of equipment and resources. Teachers record children’s learning in individual portfolios. These documents also show instances where children have maintained an interest, developed their ideas and made decisions about their learning. Children also use their portfolios to revisit their learning and share successes with family members.

Key Next Steps

During 2013 teachers undertook a major review of bicultural practice that included:

  • professional reading
  • the involvement of a teacher with skills in te reo Māori
  • consultation with families
  • the inclusion of bicultural topics and themes
  • communication with local schools.

ERO and centre leaders agree that the next step is to continue strengthening and embedding biculturalism in the centre curriculum and in teacher practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rainbow Cottage 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 Rainbow Cottage will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

31 March 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

25 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23 Boys 17

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

South East Asian




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

February 2014

Date of this report

31 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

June 2010


Education Review

April 2009


Education Review

September 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.