Sunbeams Private Kindergarten - 08/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Sunbeams Private Kindergarten

How well placed is Sunbeams Private Kindergarten 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.


Sunbeams Private Kindergarten opened in 2014 in Western Springs, Auckland. It is licensed for 30 children from two years old to school age. Children receive all day education and care in a homely environment in a remodelled villa. Children transition to several local schools in the surrounding inner city areas. Children who attend are mostly Pākehā and some have Māori, Pacific and Asian cultural backgrounds.

The two owners govern and lead the strategic direction of the centre. The managing director is a qualified early childhood teacher and is responsible for daily operations and staffing. She works collaboratively with a team of five staff in a cohesive teaching team. External consultants help to build teachers' professional knowledge and teaching practice through ongoing professional learning.

The kindergarten's philosophy is to 'nurture, inspire and challenge children in an environment that provides independent thinking, creativity and respect'. The curriculum programme is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and learning through well resourced play. Staff work together to provide a responsive programme and offer all children a variety of experiences to explore, wonder and learn through imaginative and dramatic play.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is evident in teachers' practices, in the environment, documentation and parent responses. There is a strong commitment to the philosophy of children learning through play and respect for beauty, nature, people, places and things. The welcoming and attractive environment is viewed as the 'third teacher', which inspires children to learn through authentic, imaginative and creative play situations.

Indoor and outdoor environments offer areas that invite children to create, take risks, be curious and value learning. Child focused equipment and well placed spaces to play provide inviting provocations for children. Managers plan to expand outdoor play areas to provide more learning challenges for older children.

Children are confident and articulate. They enjoy adult interactions and lead their own learning. They settle quickly and show a strong sense of belonging in the centre. They are very well supported by skilful and sensitive teachers. Some children are socially competent and develop friendships. They know they are valued and their contributions are used to inform the programme. Children respect the environment and confidently express their rights and preferences. Children's independence is evident through the ways they negotiate, show leadership and use self-help skills.

Teachers use non-intrusive, respectful and sensitive interactions with children. They respect the dignity of the child and have high expectations for children's participation and learning outcomes. Intentional teaching strategies support children's development and build on what children already know. Primary caregivers help to sustain and extend children's interests, and support their strengths, interests and needs.

Programmes provide very good opportunities to develop children's social competence and play-based learning. Planning, assessment and evaluation guide programme development well. Children's learning is recorded in attractive portfolios that clearly show their interests and development. Their opinions are valued and contribute to teachers' planning. Parents' aspirations and feedback are valued and are also included in the programmes for children.

The programme shows the centre's commitment to promotingTe Whāriki and te Tiriti o Waitangi, and working in partnership with whānau. Bicultural practices include mihimihi, karakia and waiata and the promotion of te reo Māori. Prioritising the special position of tangata whenua would help teachers to broaden the bicultural programme.

The two directors/owners provide effective leadership. The managing director's teaching experience and dedication to the centre's vision has contributed to the development of sound management systems.

Long term strategic planning includes parent aspirations and is regularly monitored through a collaborative process. The centre's commitment to ongoing improvement is evident in a purposeful, well documented internal evaluation processes.

There is a shared belief that parent perspectives and involvement are important. Parents report that they feel a sense of belonging and purpose in the centre. Various forms of communication help to develop strong partnerships with families that contribute to good quality outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers agree that key future focus areas include reviewing the extent to which:

  • the curriculum reinforces the special position of tangata whenua and te ao Māori

  • children's languages and cultural identities are apparent in environments, assessment and programmes

  • the environment and programmes promote learning challenges for older children

  • internal evaluation uses current research and relevant educational resources.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sunbeams Private Kindergarten 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 Sunbeams Private Kindergarten will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 May 2017 

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 


Western Springs, Auckland

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 27, Boys 15

Ethnic composition









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2



Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

8 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


No previous ERO reports


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.