Smiley Faces Educare - 30/10/2018

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 Educare is a privately owned early childhood service located in Upper Hutt. It provides all day education and care for children in two separate buildings. The centre is licensed for 49 children, including up to 12 under the age of two. Of the 57 children currently enrolled, 17 are Māori and five are of Pacific heritage.

The centre philosophy has been under extensive review since 2017. The draft document emphasises a holistic approach to learning, grounded in strong relationships and respect. Smiley Faces Educare is an Enviroschool.

A centre manager/owner guides the long term direction of the service. Day-to-day management is the responsibility of two team leaders who also have oversight of the curriculum. At the time of this review an appointment for the vacant team leader position for the infants and toddlers room is underway.

The October 2015 ERO report identified several areas for further development including: evaluation of children's learning; self review; bicultural practices; and strategies that promote educational success for Māori children. These areas have been progressed.

The Review Findings

Children are engaged in child and teacher led learning. The well-resourced environment encourages exploration and investigation. Recent strengthening of the bicultural curriculum is resulting in increased use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Children take opportunities to engage with te ao Māori in formal and play settings.

Infants and toddlers are very well supported within a calm, peaceful environment. Their teachers are respectful and responsive to their cues. These children are given choices about their play and within care routines.

The long term review of the philosophy is resulting in a more collaborative approach to teaching and learning. Teachers are beginning to explore what elements of the philosophy looks like in practice. A next step is to develop practice statements to guide teachers' understanding and promote consistency across the centre.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported to achieve positive outcomes. Teachers identify and seek relevant support. They work diligently with families and external agencies to promote consistent strategies and monitor progress for these children.

Strong relationships with parents and families are well established. Their knowledge and contributions are used to support the programme. Learning partnerships are emerging as teachers seek and respond to parent aspirations.

Leaders and teachers are considering ways to further connections of children to their individual cultures, languages and identities. Centre celebrations and group learning projects focus on exploring different cultures. Staff should continue to investigate ways to integrate this knowledge into the daily programme and environment.

Teachers are fostering a deeper understanding of tikanga and kaupapa Māori to support Māori children's educational success. A newly established connection to local iwi should support development of a place-based curriculum. Leaders have identified that consulting with whānau Māori about their cultural aspirations is a key next step.

Establishing centre-wide understanding of strategies that promote Pacific children's educational success is an area for ongoing development.

Transition processes into the service, between rooms and on to school, continue to be strengthened. There is an increased focus on maintaining children's sense of security and belonging. Good relationships with local schools are established. Regular visits to these schools give older children opportunities to experience a school environment.

Group planning is responsive to children's current interests and developing skills. Older children's planned projects aim to foster their thinking and emerging theories about the world around them. Regularly evaluating the outcomes of these plans should allow teachers to gauge how effective they are in achieving this.

Children's portfolios show their interests, developing dispositions and some learning. Establishing a consistent approach across the centre to individual planning is a next step. Teachers should consider which intentional teaching strategies can be used to support each child's learning, and how learning is identified and evaluated to show progress over time.

Leaders work together to improve practice and ensure the ongoing operation of the service. The centre manager is committed to developing leadership within the team. Teachers are well supported to grow their practice within a robust appraisal process. A group approach to professional learning is aligned to centre priorities.

A thorough self-review process results in ongoing development and positive outcomes for children. Staff should continue to refine their use of internal evaluation to assist them to more clearly know the impact of their action of outcomes for learners.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that the key next steps are to:

  • establish statements that guide the philosophy in practice

  • continue to explore and implement strategies that promote educational success for Māori and for Pacific children

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation of individual children's learning.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

30 October 2018

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

49 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 30, Boys 27

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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

30 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2015

Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

June 2009

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.