Seedlings Education - 29/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Seedlings Education

How well placed is Seedlings Education 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.


Seedlings Education is part of the Seedlings Education home-based education and care service in Auckland. It is licensed for up to 60 children from infancy to five years of age.

The service's philosophy promotes the values of integrity, respect, honesty and environmental awareness. Building and maintaining trusting, long-term relationships with families are guiding principles.

Educators provide programmes in their own or the child's home for up to four children at a time. Many educators are nannies or members of children's extended family. Children and educators are from diverse cultural backgrounds. Families and educators are carefully matched to support children's wellbeing.

Programme coordinators are well qualified, experienced teachers. They regularly visit educators in their homes and support them to plan educational programmes for children, as well as monitoring health and safety provision.

The service providers/directors are responsible for the governance and management of the service. In 2016 they strengthened health and safety systems and practices in response to legislation and regulation requirements.

Seedlings Education was first reviewed by ERO in 2012. This review was part of a cluster of four home-based network reviews in the Seedlings Education Ltd organisation

The Review Findings

Children's learning records show that they are well supported to develop their interests, strengths and preferences through everyday experiences. In many cases educators share the same cultural background as the children in their care. As a result, programmes are responsive to the cultures of children and their families. Educators prioritise the use of children's home languages. Coordinators tailor resources and support for specific cultural contexts.

Children and educators have opportunities to attend regular outdoor excursions and organised playgroups and discovery days. Coordinators and educators encourage and support children to experience different environments where they have opportunities to play with and learn alongside others. The service provides an extensive library of books and other resources to support and expand educators' in-home programmes. Feedback from educators and parents indicates that these resources are much appreciated and valued.

Parents' input into the programme is actively sought. They are very positive about the education and care their children receive through the Seedlings service. Parents readily respond to requests to contribute ideas and suggestions for improvement. Seedlings directors are considering ways that parent survey feedback could be used to further personalise and enhance the services they provide for families.

Coordinators maintain clear and useful records of their visits to educators. They identify how well educators interact with children and focus on children's care and wellbeing. Coordinators encourage educators to support children's learning by modelling good teaching practices. Professional development opportunities for educators are well established.

The head programme coordinator provides very effective curriculum leadership, maintaining a broad overview of programmes and skilfully guiding coordinators to improve educator practice. Programme planning frameworks align with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Coordinators could now review and refine the ease of use and usefulness of planning, assessment and evaluation documents. This work could help educators to better respond to children's interests, strengths and needs.

Leaders work well together in an established structure where relationships are respectful and productive. Coordinators are knowledgeable, and show a willingness to learn and improve their practice. Coordinators and educators are well resourced to be effective in their work and to continually improve. A well considered induction process and relevant professional learning opportunities support ongoing improvement in teaching practice. Directors are deliberately growing leadership capability across the service.

Seedlings Education operates under a strong governance framework, guided by a mission statement and guiding principles. Directors express their commitment to biculturalism and affirmation of Māori as tangata whenua. They acknowledge that continuing to deepen bicultural understandings and practices at all levels of the service remains a priority.

Directors and coordinators have a good understanding of internal evaluation and use it as a tool to improve outcomes for children and their families. The appraisal system helps coordinators to reflect on and improve their practice. Strategic goals, appraisal and professional learning priorities are becoming more aligned with the service's vision.

Key Next Steps

Service managers agree that the key next steps for the service are to:

  • strengthen internal evaluation to identify the impact of change across the organisation

  • rationalise planning, assessment and evaluation records so they better reflect how children's learning is extended through their interests, and becomes more complex over time

  • develop differentiated planning across the Seedlings Education networks, to better respond to particular cultural identities. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Seedlings Education completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Seedlings Education will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 March 2017 

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 Home-based Education and Care Service 


Papakura, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 60 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 34 Boys 23

Ethnic composition













Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

29 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s) 

Education Review

October 2012

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.