School of Fish Childcare - 24/09/2015

1 Evaluation of School of Fish Childcare

How well placed is School of Fish Childcare 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.


School of Fish Childcare opened in October 2013. The centre occupies a recently renovated villa in Onehunga, Auckland. It offers all day care and education for 60 children, including up to 12 children under two years of age.

The centre caters for children in three separate areas. The babies’ area is located in an extension to the main house. An open plan area provides space for the next group of children up to three years old. The third area caters for four year olds, who join the open plan group each afternoon.

The owner/manager and acting manager work collaboratively to implement effective systems and policies to support the management and operation of the centre. All teachers are qualified and most are working towards full teacher registration.

The centre’s philosophy focuses on the provision of a child-centred environment that inspires learning, creativity and expression. This philosophy was developed with staff and has much potential to provide a sound foundation for guiding centre programmes and practices.

The Review Findings

Teachers in the open space area know their children well and work alongside them as they explore their environment. Teachers are welcoming, respect children for who they are and are responsive to their needs. Children are well cared for and treated as individuals.

The environment is high quality and rich in natural materials. Children experience explorative, manipulative, creative and imaginative play and are mostly free to choose from a wide range of activities. They are encouraged to play cooperatively with their peers. Teachers are on hand to foster open-ended play and to encourage children’s interactions.

Teachers work collaboratively with children and parents to develop projects for inquiry that are based on observations of children at play. Teachers and children search out answers to overarching questions of interest to children.

Teachers develop useful assessment portfolios for each child. These portfolios show the development of each child’s knowledge, skills and dispositions over their time at the centre and include documentation of children’s involvement in group activities.

Infants and toddlers are well catered for in their own area. They benefit from a calm and affirming environment where teachers respond sensitively to their needs, preferences and their verbal and non-verbal cues. Children’s development in this area could be now be further enhanced through a greater emphasis by teachers on supporting their language acquisition.

The programme provided for older children is more structured. Children participate in teacher directed activities for the majority of the morning session. Consideration needs to be given to the alignment of this programme with the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It would be timely to review centre practices giving consideration to strategies to further support children's learning in authentic contexts and readiness to transition to school.

Teachers are beginning to improve their processes around teaching and learning. Worthwhile time and thinking has gone into establishing a child-centred philosophy. This shared philosophy should guide the direction, strategy and consistency of teaching practice.

The management team has developed useful strategic and annual management plans. These documents guide them as they continue to set up systems, structures, policies and procedures. The management team reflects on progress with these areas and uses these reflections to improve operations. The team has built the centre’s foundations well.

Key Next Steps

The centre owner and manager acknowledge it would now be beneficial to:

  • develop child-centred indicators for expectations of teaching practice that align with the centre philosophy
  • focus whole-centre teacher professional development on extending and challenging children’s knowledge, skills and learning dispositions.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of School of Fish Childcare 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 School of Fish Childcare 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


Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 42 Boys 36

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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

24 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports


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.