Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre - 01/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre 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.


Glenpark Childcare in Birkenhead was purchased by new owners in July 2017. The centre is now known as Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre. The new owners are very involved in the running of the centre. There has been extensive renovation and refurbishment since the change of ownership in June 2017.

The centre is licensed for 25 children, including five under two years of age. Infants and toddlers have a separate indoor play space and share an outdoor play area with the older children. Many of the children attending were very new enrolments at the time of this ERO review.

The centre operates in conjunction with another North Shore service. The owners and two registered teachers form the leadership team. The two teachers spend two days each week in the centre coaching and mentoring a team of five other qualified teachers. Many of the teachers are new to the centre in 2018.

The service's philosophy is strongly inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Respectful relationships and environments that encourage exploration are highly valued. The aim of centre leaders and teachers is to foster a strong team culture and develop partnerships with whānau that support children's learning. Children are viewed as resilient and capable leaders of their own learning.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from small group sizes and are starting to play cooperatively together. They are well supported by teachers to develop social skills and independence. Teachers encourage children to engage with resources and equipment to support their learning. They have warm, friendly conversations with children about their play.

Infants and toddlers occupy a new space designed specifically for their needs. It is spacious and well resourced. Two teachers, both new to the centre, have been appointed to work with a maximum group size of five children, providing very good adult-to-child ratios. Transition processes for infants and toddlers are well thought out and sensitive to children's needs.

Children aged four years and over participate in a transition to school programme. The programme includes a focus on literacy and mathematics learning in ways that are meaningful for these children. Teachers are also starting to introduce project work for older children. Centre leaders have established positive relationships with local schools and the centre is part of the Northcote Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

The use of natural materials in the indoor environment helps bring a sense of calm to the programme. Teachers use te reo Māori throughout the day and children show a familiarity with the language. Centre leaders have identified a commitment to strengthening the team's bicultural practice through ongoing teacher learning. Portfolios of learning for individual children incorporate their cultural identity.

The development of programme planning processes has been supported by an external facilitator. This has resulted in a good framework that is underpinned by children's learning dispositions and includes child and whānau contributions. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, is very well reflected throughout the centre.

The centre is well managed. The new owners have established robust strategic and annual planning processes to guide future direction. There is a sound framework of policies and procedures, and a cycle of review. Centre leaders have developed a process to guide spontaneous and longer term evaluations of practices and operations.

Centre leaders have also introduced an effective system for teacher appraisal. This process now needs time to be embedded. The owners are committed to providing teachers with access to high quality professional learning opportunities to support their ongoing development.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the centre include:

  • strengthening internal evaluation through stronger use of research and a focus on the evaluative aspects of the process
  • continuing to refine and develop programme planning processes with a focus on children's individual interests, strengths and abilities
  • continuing to consider centre resourcing and how this might provoke children to develop more complexity in their thinking.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre 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 Stellar Kids Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

1 May 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 


Birkenhead, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       12
Boys      12

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

1 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

February 2008

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.