St Albans Community Preschool - 19/02/2014

Evaluation of St Albans Community Preschool

How well placed is St Albans Community Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


This small parent-run centre provides education and care for children from six months to five years. The building is leased from the Christchurch City Council. A new long-term tenancy agreement means parents have increased responsibility for maintaining the building and grounds.

The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 resulted in a number of changes. The move to a school site had an impact on children’s play as they now had ample space and a greater range of playground equipment. The positive outcomes have been:

  • a review of the centre’s curriculum

  • a stronger focus on the learning needs of the individual child

  • an improved outdoor environment with increased physical activities that challenge children and encourage creative play.

The centre has well-developed links with the community. Parents are warmly welcomed to the centre and volunteer personal time to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the facilities.

The roll is continuing to grow.

The Review Findings

Teachers have a strong focus on supporting children’s learning and promoting their emerging interests. There are respectful and caring relationships amongst children, and amongst teachers and children. Positive features of the support provided for children’s learning include:

  • well managed and presented learning environments

  • opportunities for sustained independent play

  • supportive learning conversations between teachers and children

  • a strong sense of family and belonging.

Teachers use daily observations followed by discussions and planning to meet children’s individual strengths and interests. The effective use of individual learning goals identifies how teachers will meet the learning needs of children.

The centre’s curriculum is continually developing as children begin to make their own learning choices. Teachers provide positive encouragement to extend children’s curiosity. They offer a broad range of choices and activities for children to experience within the centre and in the local community.

There is a strong focus on literacy, creative and imaginative play and making links to Te Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. Teachers build on children’s independence, and encourage children to be risk takers in preparation for school.

The intent of the Treaty of Waitangi is clearly understood by staff and the board, and is a focus for learning in the centre. Te reo and tikanga Māori are a natural part of the learning programme.

Teachers are becoming confident with using te reo Māori in conversations with children. Parents are supporting centre staff with te reo phrases to extend the use of the language.

The manager has benefitted from professional support to help build leadership, coaching and mentoring skills. Whole-staff professional development is building team confidence in planning and assessing children’s learning. Teachers have consistent practices and work well together.

There are good systems in place for self review. This has improved with the support of an external adviser. An annual self-review plan and the regular evaluation of the outcomes from self reviews is helping the board, senior leaders and staff, to continue to improve teaching practice and the quality of management and operation of the centre.

An elected group of parents is well supported by the development of governance guidelines to support them with their roles and responsibilities. The strategic plan is currently in draft form and is likely to provide a good structure for the continued future of the centre. There are good systems in place to ensure the board is meeting its obligations for the provision of a safe learning environment.

Key Next Steps

The board and senior leaders agreed with ERO’s recommendations that the key next steps for the centre are to:

  • strengthen the process of self review to include the planned review of curriculum areas

  • ensure that staff receive appropriate professional development and feedback to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the centre

  • complete the appraisal process in line with policy guidelines

  • ensure the annual plan has goals that are linked to the centre’s vision and key strategic direction and includes indicators, actions and resources.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the management of St Albans Community Preschool 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:

  • administration

  • health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • financial and property management.

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 St Albans Community Preschool will be in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

19 February 2014

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 4 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 21; Boys 17

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā











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

November 2013

Date of this report

19 February 2014

Most recent ERO reports


Education Review

July 2010


Education Review

February 2007


Education Review

January 2004

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.