Small Is Beautiful Pre-School - 12/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Small is Beautiful Pre-School

How well placed is Small is Beautiful Pre-School 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.


Small is Beautiful is a well established, privately owned centre in Devonport. It provides morning and afternoon sessions for up to 20 children. Some stay for hours that are similar to a school day. The majority of children are from the local community and many have siblings who have previously attended the centre. The centre is staffed by four qualified teachers, including the centre owner/manager.

The 2014 ERO report identified good practices that have been maintained. Teachers continue to work collaboratively and share a philosophical belief that learning should be generated by the richness of activities available for children. The 2014 report identified areas for development relating to the use of assessment and planning, bicultural practices and self review. Since 2014, teachers have engaged in external professional development to enhance their practices.

The Review Findings

Children are confident, capable, and caring. They show respect, kindness, and concern for their peers. They are developing a sense of personal and social responsibility. Children approach teachers with trust and affection when requiring reassurance or assistance.

Responsive and caring relationships contribute positively to children’s emotional wellbeing and sense of belonging. Teachers know children and their families very well, and encourage children to share their home languages. Children with learning challenges are identified, supported, and referred to specialist agencies when necessary. Teachers are inclusive of children with varying abilities, and maintain the dignity of the child at all times.

Children learn in a home-like, attractive environment that is well resourced and reflects their ideas and interests. They have fun and are purposefully engaged. They play cooperatively and explore at their own pace. Teachers support children to develop the skills and dispositions of a successful learner.

Children have good opportunities to include literacy, mathematics and science as part of their play and discussions. Children are encouraged to be creative and expressive through art, music, dance and dramatic play. There is good provision for physical development.

Teachers have high expectations and view all children as competent learners. The centre’s philosophy, and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, inform the programme and teaching practices. Teachers have good knowledge about developmentally appropriate practices. They support children sensitively to engage in planned activities and encourage them to make choices.

Parent involvement is welcomed. Frequent communications with parents keep them well informed about their children’s progress. Teachers have strong links with community groups, outside agencies and other education services. Supporting children to have a smooth transition to school continues to be a much valued feature of the centre. Parents are highly appreciative of the education and care their children receive, and are very supportive of the teachers.

Teachers’ commitment to biculturalism is reflected in the centre environment, and has been supported by extensive professional development. Teachers and children use words and phrases of te reo Māori in routines and conversations. They show respect for tikanga Māori.

Teachers work collaboratively. They are enthusiastic about professional development and contributing to internal evaluation. Performance management practices promote quality teaching. The supportive working environment and staff stability also have a positive impact on programmes and outcomes for children.

The centre owner provides strong professional leadership. Managers make good use of research to inform their strategic direction and policies. There is a strong alignment between the centre vision, philosophy and strategic plans. There are well established management and administration systems.

Key Next Steps

The centre leaders agree that next steps include:

  • exploring ways to more consistently record how teachers extend children’s thinking and how individual interests are developed over time

  • developing more evaluative processes that involve deeper analysis, and focus on the effectiveness of teacher practices and their impact on outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Small is Beautiful Pre-School 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 Small is Beautiful Pre-School will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

12 December 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 Early Childhood Service


Devonport, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 14 Boys 9

Ethnic composition

other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

12 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

March 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.