Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata - 24/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata

How well placed is Samoa Taumafai 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.


Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata is a well established early childhood centre providing care and education for children up to school age, in a Samoan bilingual setting. The service is located on the grounds of the Samoa Community Welfare building in central Tokoroa. The executive committee, as a governance body, ensures that the centre’s strategic direction is developed and that management and staff are well supported. While it has been a challenge in the past for the centre to get parent representatives on the committee, it is now mostly made up of parents.

Since the 2012 ERO report the aoga has undergone some significant changes. The appointment of an experienced centre manager has made a difference to supporting teacher professional practice and improving the curriculum. The manager also oversees the daily operational and administrative aspects of the aoga. The office support person is also new and assists in ensuring administration is up to date and current. Most of the staff are qualified in early childhood education. A succession plan is being developed to employ and build the capacity of the younger teachers.

This review has identified that areas for development in the last ERO report have been addressed appropriately. These areas included planning, assessment and the extension of children’s learning over time.

An extension to the building has provided more learning space for children, separate offices for the administrator, centre manager and teachers, and a staff room for teacher breaks. Sheds have been installed for better storage of outdoor equipment.

The centre’s philosophy is grounded in Samoan culture, language and beliefs and is inclusive of all peoples. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and a Christian ethos are woven through the programme.

The Review Findings

Teachers implement programmes that give children a strong sense of their identity. Children are happy and enjoy the company of their friends. Teachers are genuinely interested in what children contribute to the programme and to conversations. As a result, children feel they belong and are confident and engaged in learning activities.

Children enrolled in the aoga come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Samoan and English are the two main languages that children hear. Some children can respond to teachers in the Samoan language, but most understand and respond in English. Some learning story assessment is written in children’s home languages.

Māori language and songs are promoted in the programme and used mostly at mat time. Some teachers use te reo Māori as they engage with children. The governance committee and teachers are committed to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and have developed strong relationships with local iwi and kaumātua who provide guidance and support. Teachers have a good understanding of te ao Māori and promote this in programme.

Infants and toddlers have a separate area for uninterrupted play. The installation of waterproof curtains in the deck area allows for play to occur in all weathers. Teachers promote a curriculum that is flexible, built on strong relationships and responsive to children. They could now consider seeking external professional development to implement appropriate activities that extend on and enhance children’s interests.

The indoor area has been renovated and this has made a positive difference to the appearance of the learning environment. Wall displays invite children to revisit previous events and support discussions and language development. Some displays and resources promote mathematics and literacy. Completing planned reviews of the indoor and outdoor environments could help teachers provide a better variety of good quality resources that provide challenge for children.

Since the 2012 ERO report, key improvements in programme management and delivery are evident. This change has been the result of meaningful and relevant professional development for teachers. Teachers could continue to strengthen children’s assessment, programme planning and evaluation.

Parents that ERO spoke to appreciate the care and education their children receive at the centre. They say teachers are friendly and make their families feel welcome. They like the promotion of the Samoan language and that te ao Māori is well respected. Parents note that centre events are very popular with all families, and friends from the wider community.

The centre is managed effectively by an experienced manager. She is supported by the two team leaders who manage the curriculum. Regular, well documented meetings and clear processes contribute to effective decision making. A strategic plan has recently been developed to guide the long-term direction of the aoga. It will be useful to develop a clear and useful procedural base to guide executive committee practice. Staff are well supported to improve their professional knowledge and practice, both individually and as a group. Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata is well positioned to make ongoing improvements for the benefit of children and their community.

Key Next Steps

Priorities for development include:

  • aligning the annual plan to a strategic plan that includes the centre’s goals for ongoing improvements over time

  • implementing a collaborative appraisal process that includes indicators related to requirements for registered teachers

  • establishing robust self-review processes to improve the quality of the programme and teachers’ professional practice

  • documenting expectations for effective teaching, so that teachers can continue to align their practice with the aoga philosophy and evaluate their success.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Samoa Taumafai 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 Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 September 2015

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

30 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 12

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

June 2015

Date of this report

24 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012


Supplementary Review

October 2010


Supplementary Review

October 2009

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.