Rainbow Steps Learning Centre - 22/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Rainbow Steps Learning Centre

Rainbow Steps Learning Centre How well placed isto promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Management, leadership and systems require further development for Rainbow Steps Learning Centre to be well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

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


Rainbow Steps Learning Centre is a family-owned full-day education and care service near Feilding. The centre has been part of the local community for many years.

The centre owner is responsible for the governance and management of the centre. She is also in charge of the day-to-day running of the centre and works as a full time teacher.

Significant issues affecting the services viability in 2015 resulted in changes to staffing, minimum child attendance requirements, and some operational processes. Up until then staffing was stable.

The centre philosophy promotes a focus on children’s well-being and belonging, where relationships are valued, in a family-like atmosphere.

Since the March 2013 ERO report, staff have been involved in external professional development to assist them to review the centre philosophy and ways of promoting children’s positive behaviour. Some progress has been made in response to the previous ERO report.

This service has a variable ERO reporting history.

The Review Findings

Children experience caring relationships that supports their sense of belonging. Staff are responsive to individual needs. They make some useful links to home in their discussions with children. A next step is for staff to make wider and more positive use of conversations to extend children’s language, problem solving and thinking. 

Children are familiar with centre routines and expectations. A good range of resources allow children to make choices and play independently. The outdoor area provides useful opportunities to learn about the natural world and to care for the environment.

Staff should strengthen the bicultural programme and build on te ao Māori in the curriculum. This should give improved significance to Māori learners’ culture, language and identity.

A focus for management has been on building sustainability practices. The centre manager has recently accessed support from an external mentor to assist her and provide professional guidance. It is timely to clarify and develop shared understanding of roles and responsibilities in governance, management, leadership and teaching.

Strategic and annual planning requires development to sufficiently focus on the centre priorities, and include plans for improving teaching and learning. Aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation processes need improvement.

A self-review process is in use and assists teachers to inquire into some aspects of centre operation. The process continues to be an area for ongoing development. Internal evaluation should more clearly show the impact of teachers’ practices on children’s learning.

Staff appraisal was not carried out in 2015. Some progress has been made in developing a centre process to support teachers to improve their teaching practice. This has yet to be fully implemented. Opportunities for the centre leader to inquire into and develop leadership is an important aspect in appraisal and a priority to improve outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

The centre has yet to fully address areas for development identified in the previous ERO report. The manager and staff need to improve and develop their understanding of and practices in:

  • self review, to more clearly show the impact of teachers’ practices on children’s learning
  • assessment, including how this information is used to plan for and extend individual children
  • annual and strategic planning, to better inform centre priorities for teaching and learning
  • high quality interactions, that build on and extend children’s language and thinking
  • opportunities for Māori children and whānau to have success as Māori and extending bicultural practices
  • appraisal, including a focus on appropriate leadership goals
  • professional leadership, governance and management.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rainbow Steps Learning 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 governance and management and the provision of an effective early childhood education for children. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • ensure that the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices, including review practices, appraisal and police vetting.
  • ensure that the service acknowledges and reflects the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua
  • ensure that the practices of adults providing education and care demonstrate an understanding of children’s development and knowledge of relevant theories and practice in early childhood education.Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA and Curriculum.

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 Rainbow Steps Learning Centre will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

22 March 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

27 children, including up to 8 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 9

Ethnic composition



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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

22 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

March 2013

Education Review

October 2011

Supplementary Review

April 2008

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.