St James KidsWay - 08/06/2017

1 Evaluation of St James KidsWay

How well placed is St James KidsWay 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.


St James Kidsway is a Christian-based early childhood centre in Pukekohe catering for children over two years to school age. The centre is located in spacious purpose-built facilities adjoining the St James Presbyterian Church. It is licensed for 30 children over two years of age, and provides sessional and full day enrolments in school terms. The centre has a current roll of 61, with Pākehā being the dominant culture.

Governance is provided by the trust board which includes the centre manager, and representation from St James Church and the parent community. At the start of 2015, a new centre manager was appointed. She is fully qualified in early childhood education and brings previous management experience to her role. The centre community benefits from the consistency of qualified teaching staff, several of whom have contributed for many years.

The centre philosophy reflects the value placed on shared Christian faith and values, which underpin practice and operations. The aspirations of parents/whānau are sought and valued as they are partners in their child's education and care. Learning is to be fun and child-centred.

The centre trust board responded very positively to recommendations in the 2014 ERO report. Roles and responsibilities for governance and management have been clarified and documented. The board has worked constructively with the new centre manager, to make significant improvements to learning environments and curriculum resources available to children.

The Review Findings

Children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging are enhanced by teaching practices that strongly reflect the centre’s Christian philosophy. Caring, nurturing and responsive relationships are highly evident between teachers, children and parents. Teachers know children and their families very well, and deliberately affirm prior experiences. The centre culture is highly inclusive of children with additional learning and/or health needs. Transitions into the centre are managed in partnership with families. Teachers are responsive to each child's needs and readiness. A high proportion of children transition on to the local special character schools. Children are settled, confident and well engaged.

Children enjoy participating in a programme that reflects the centre’s Christian philosophy. The programme allows for considerable periods of child-initiated learning through play, and fun. The spacious outdoor play area promotes safe physical challenge, exploration and interactions with the natural world. Learning environments are well resourced and activities include dramatic play, art and collage, construction and messy play. The programme is extended by occasional visits and trips into the community.

Curriculum development is necessary to strengthen literacy, mathematics and construction learning. Building partnerships with local iwi should strengthen the inclusion of a relevant and local bicultural aspect into the programme.

Teachers engage alongside children in meaningful play. Their interactions for learning are affirming, encouraging and respectful. Teachers meet each term to share observations of children’s current interests and strengths, and to plan the programme in response to individual and group emerging interests. Well-illustrated learning journals reflect children’s involvement in the programme, and their development and learning.

The knowledgeable centre manager has a well-informed and collaborative approach to centre leadership. She has been successful in establishing an agreed and positive sense of purpose for the centre community. In her daily practice, the manager models the centre's Christian-based values and philosophy. Relational trust and confidence are evident within the centre community. Staff are guided by well-documented processes for centre operations, and access to relevant opportunities for professional development.

Professional leadership to build teacher capability and strengthen performance management processes, is now needed.

The trust board provides effective governance and regularly consults with its community to establish a clear and shared Christian-based vision and philosophy. The board is well informed through comprehensive reports about all aspects of operations from the centre manager. Systematic self review has informed well-developed strategic and operational plans, which are supported by the policy framework.

Key Next Steps

Professional leadership is an area for development. Particular priority should be given to:

  • building teacher capability to add greater complexity to children’s learning

  • providing teachers with regular and constructive feedback about the effectiveness of the practice, including assessment and planning

  • reviewing and strengthening the inclusion of literacy, mathematics and aspects of the natural world into the programme. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St James KidsWay 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.

During the review of St James KidsWay, ERO identified an area of non-compliance.

The service provider must ensure that appraisals of staff in teaching positions by the professional leader of the service are based on the Practising Teacher Criteria established by the Education Council for the issue and renewal of practising certificates.
[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care 2008, GMA7]

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of St James KidsWay will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

8 June 2017 

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 35 Boys 26

Ethnic composition


South African









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

8 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

November 2007

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. 

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.