Smiley Faces Educare - 22/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Smiley Faces Educare

How well placed is Smiley Faces Educare 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.


Smiley Faces provides all-day education and care in Upper Hutt for up to 41 children, ten of whom may be up to two years of age. The centre has been part of its community for over twenty years. At the time of this review, the roll comprises Māori, Fijian, Filipino, and Pākehā children.

The centre operates from two separate buildings, one for preschool children, and one for babies and toddlers. The babies and toddlers programme was re-established in late 2014, and is a positive development for the centre.

Staffing is settling after some changes to teaching roles and management. Since the 2012 ERO review, there are new owners who are actively involved in the day-to-day management of the service.

The collaboratively developed centre philosophy emphasises the importance of establishing positive relationships and partnerships with children and their families. It promotes effective teaching and the creation of conditions for children to flourish as confident and competent lifelong learners. Teachers continue to explore how well the philosophy is enacted in practice.

Management supports and encourages teacher involvement in professional learning and development (PLD). Staff have participated in many PLD opportunities to enhance the programme for children and build management practices. This includes accessing support through a Ministry of Education funded Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) programme.

There has been a positive response to addressing the areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO report.

The Review Findings

In line with the centre philosophy, babies and toddlers benefit from an approach that fosters their wellbeing and promotes discovery and choice. ERO observed unhurried interactions and a calm environment. Teachers are responsive to children's verbal and non-verbal cues. Relationships are nurturing and warm.

Children show a good sense of belonging. The preschool children are responsive to familiar routines. Their curriculum includes teacher and child initiated experiences. Children have some good opportunities to lead their own learning and play. There is an emphasis on encouraging literacy and numeracy in the programme. Exploring more ways to share good practice across the centre is an agreed next step.

Staff continue to strengthen the bicultural programme. They are exploring more ways to build on, and give significance to Māori learners’ culture, language and identity.

Information is shared with parents and whānau in a wide range of ways. This includes monthly newsletters, ‘thinking books’ and ‘our journey books', as well as centre events. Staff value parents contributions. They have established reciprocal links with local schools, which is providing support to children and families as they move to school.

Teachers are increasingly making use of self review to inform decision making to improve teaching and learning. They inquire into aspects of their teaching practice. There is a sound framework for review and inquiry. A reflective culture is evident.

Next steps in strengthening aspects of self review and evaluation to further guide improvement are:

  • making greater use of indicators and success criteria to focus centre planning and self review
  • building on the evaluation aspect to focus more on what teachers have learnt or changed about their practice as a result of review to improve teaching and learning outcomes for children.

Management has a well-considered approach to change, and recognises the ongoing importance of supporting leaders and building leadership capability in the centre. The centre’s appraisal process has been further developed to increase expectations for performance. It has some useful elements in growing teacher practice.

Strengthened personnel processes and systems are assisting in the day-to-day running of the centre. The manager actively seeks ongoing support to increase her knowledge of early childhood education. She has accurately identified areas and key priorities to further develop and strengthen teaching and learning. ERO’s external evaluation confirms this direction.

The 2015/16 business plan clearly sets out the goals and strategies to move the centre forward. More closely aligning this plan with annual planning should allow for greater focus on the quality of provision and outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the centre manager identified the following priorities for development:

  • continuing to focus on children’s learning outcomes in teachers’ planning and evaluation
  • building on aspects of assessment and planning
  • further growing bicultural practice and promoting Māori success as Māori
  • strengthening self-review processes.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Smiley Faces Educare 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 Smiley Faces Educare will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

22 October 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


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

41 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21

Boys 19

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





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

September 2015

Date of this report

22 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2012


Education Review

June 2009


Education Review

March 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.