S I T Early Childhood Centre - 14/03/2016

1 Evaluation of S I T Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is S I T Early Childhood Centre 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.


Children at the Southern Institute of Technology (S I T) Early Childhood Centre benefit from very stable staffing. They are confident and secure and well known by their teachers. They play and learn in purpose-built buildings and are grouped in three rooms according to age and development. Children come from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, some being recent arrivals to New Zealand.

The centre is governed by the Southern Institute of Technology and managed by an experienced, long-serving manager.

Since the last ERO review in 2013, the manager and staff have strengthened the appraisal process. This is still work in progress. Teachers have attended professional development to improve the records of children's learning. Further development is required to build a system to ensure the quality of these records.

The Review Findings

Teachers, children and parents enjoy positive, respectful relationships. Children, parents and whānau are warmly welcomed each day. Parents/whānau are comfortable to share important information about their children and their daily lives.

Children approach their teachers confidently and are secure in the knowledge that they are lovingly cared for and supported. They play well with others or by themselves. They sustain play for long periods of time within small friendship groups. Children with diverse needs are well supported to participate fully alongside their peers in the programme.

Children have fun and enjoy making choices from a range of interesting activities and small-group experiences, including numeracy and literacy, music and art. They take part in a variety of community events, such as Polyfest, Tour of Southland and visits to the museum.

Teachers support children to be independent and take responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves and others. They focus on helping children to develop positive social skills. Teachers have responded well to parents' requests and now keep them well informed when moving children within the centre. Children’s transitions are sensitively and carefully considered to ensure they are confident and successful in new situations.

Teachers have a long-term commitment to promoting children’s healthy lifestyles. This is evident through the Healthy Heart Award, gardening, the food provided and links to local organisations such as Sport Southland.

The spacious indoor and outdoor environments are thoughtfully set out to support all children’s learning. These promote safety, while offering physical challenge and opportunities to explore.

Children experience aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori within their daily programme. This includes waiata, mihi mihi, legends, myths and celebrating Mātariki. Teachers have identified that a next step is to further develop their understanding and practices around kaupapa and te ao Māori. They also need to show in assessment, planning and evaluation how children’s language, culture and identity are integrated into everyday programmes.

Infants and toddlers are very comfortable with their teachers. They benefit from nurturing and responsive caregiving practices. Teachers interpret and respond to subtle non-verbal cues of the children in their care. They respect children’s rights to be informed, sensitively share what is going to happen and wait for them to respond. Routines take place in a calm and unhurried manner.

Each room has identified and displayed its valued learning for children. This needs to be better reflected in the centre philosophy, planning, assessment and evaluation. Planning for groups is currently activity based rather than showing the intended learning.

Children’s profiles are an attractive record of their time at the centre. Best examples show children’s learning is noticed and responded to, with some examples of how teachers will support children's next learning. These good practices need to become common practice across the centre. Teachers seek parents’ wishes for their children. More clearly showing how they respond to these wishes would strengthen the learning partnership. They could also strengthen the way they show their response to children’s language, culture and identity.

Teachers use self review to improve what happens for children. They have a schedule for self review to ensure all aspects of the centre are evaluated within a reasonable timeframe. They follow a useful format that helps guide the self-review process. Their process could become more effective by making the questions and indicators more specific and evaluative.

The leaders and teachers are committed to providing children with high-quality early childhood education and care. They share a determination to continually improve. This includes ongoing professional development and a focus on building leadership capability.

The leaders have developed and are guided by a detailed strategic plan to help guide the centre. This links well to planned self review and the professional development programme. The number of priorities could be reduced to better reflect what is currently most important.

The S I T, as the umbrella organisation, provides some useful systems and policies.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and ERO agree that leaders and teachers need to:

  • further develop the centre philosophy to show the shared values and beliefs and the desired learning outcomes for children
  • continue to grow teachers' understandings and practices to reflect te ao Māori
  • ensure that only current priorities are included in the strategic plan.

Assessment, planning (for individuals and groups) and evaluation need to more clearly and consistently show:

  • the intended learning for children and the teachers' role in supporting this
  • how teachers respond to parents' aspirations
  • how children's language, culture and identity are supported.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of S I T Early Childhood 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of S I T Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

14 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

74 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 48

Girls: 46

Ethnic composition




Cook Island







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 2016

Date of this report

14 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013


Education Review

November 2009


Education Review

August 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.