Small World - 01/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Small World

How well placed is Small World 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 World is located in Remuera, Auckland. It is an attractive purpose-built education and care centre providing an all-day service for up to 80 children from three months to school age. Five rooms cater for the different ages of children. This is the first ERO review of Small World as a merged licence.

The centre is part of the national BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation, which provides an overarching governance and management framework as well as personnel to support individual centres. A centre manager and two head teachers provide leadership within the centre. They are supported by the BestStart professional services manager and the business manager.

At the time of the 2013 ERO reviews most staff were new to the centre and the managers were focused on developing the teaching teams and building relationships with parents. ERO identified the need to strengthen planning for groups and individuals and to improve self review. Since 2013 the centre has undergone further leadership and staff changes.

The centre philosophy is based on Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum and inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. It is based on the belief that children learn through play and that learning and development are fostered through children's dispositions and interests and by teachers extending children's experiences.

The programme is enhanced by three external providers who support children's physical development, imagination and language, and social competence.

The Review Findings

Children and their families benefit from positive and supportive relationships with teachers. Families are warmly welcomed and teachers take time to settle children into the programme. The pace is unhurried and relaxed. The cultures of the children are well supported in the centre's programme and all children are able to learn about aspects of Māori culture. Where possible teachers use children's home languages.

Teachers in the infant/toddler rooms communicate daily with parents and follow children's individual routines. They interact with children in ways that respect them as capable and competent learners. Oral language development is well supported through positive interactions. Older children play cooperatively in small groups and engage in creative and imaginative play. They ask questions and work together well to solve problems. They are confident to share their knowledge and ideas and spend time in focused activities of their choice. Children of all ages have opportunities to engage in a wide variety of challenging activities.

Teachers are making better use of the centre environment to engage children. They make informed decisions about the resources children can access and how they are presented. Teachers provide open-ended activities that allow children to direct their own play. Teachers model ways to use equipment and encourage children’s participation in activities.

Good progress is being made to plan programmes for groups and individuals based on teachers' knowledge of the children. Teachers know the children well and capably assess their learning. Parents value the use of electronic communications to share information about children's learning. 

Teachers regularly seek input from parents. They use this information well to make improvements to centre practices. Teachers review centre procedures, and BestStart ensures that policies are current and relevant. Centre leaders could now consider how they might encourage a more evaluative approach to self review by focusing on the evaluative questions that the review sets out to answer.

The centre manager is an effective leader. She provides good support to improve teacher practice. BestStart has high professional expectations of teachers and there is an effective teacher appraisal system in place. Professional learning and development is linked to strategic and appraisal goals. Leadership opportunities are provided and staff are supported to develop relevant skills.

Small World is well governed and managed. BestStart has useful systems for monitoring service operations. These systems include holding regular management meetings and using the internal audit process (QEC), to identify challenges and develop plans for improvement. Centre managers use these tools to guide and support on-going improvement. The centre's strategic plan is well thought through. It is informed through parent consultation and internal audit processes.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre managers agree that the children at the centre would benefit from:

  • continuing to improve the quality of planning, assessment and evaluation of the programme to support the learning of groups and individuals
  • using care routines to maximize learning opportunities of infants and toddlers
  • making self-review processes more evaluative. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Small World 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 World will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 September 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 


Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

82 children, including up to 17 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      49
Girls       40

Ethnic composition

Latin American
Middle Eastern
other European


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 2016

Date of this report

1 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

March 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.