Swannanoa Preschool - 05/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Swannanoa Preschool

How well placed is Swannanoa Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The centre’s management committee and centre managers are aware of the need to further develop governance practices and aspects of the centre programme to continue to achieve the best outcomes for children. The committee has sought support to make improvements. Through this review, ERO and the committee have identified areas for further improvement. The centre and ERO are committed to achieving the improvements outlined in this report.

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


The centre provides education and care for children from birth to aged five years in a nursery for toddlers, and two areas for over two year olds. It is managed by a parent-elected committee. The roll has recently been extended to accommodate over 50 children. The centre is located next to the local school.

In response to community needs, the centre has undergone significant redevelopment to provide more space for children. The ratio of teachers to children is higher than the minimum requirements.

Most teachers are qualified in early childhood education.

A change in leadership has occurred since the 2010 ERO review. The parent committee is reviewing the present management structure.

The Review Findings

Teachers develop caring relationships with children. They respond well to their play and engage in learning-focused conversations. Some teachers extend these conversations and prompt children to investigate and think more about their learning. Teachers in the nursery focus well on helping children develop their language and independence.

Children have access to a wide range of learning experiences that are connected to their interests and lives. Children from different cultural backgrounds are recognised and included in planning and free choice experiences. The indoor and outdoor environments are attractive, well designed and support children’s play well. Most activities in the preschool programme allow children to make choices about their play and learning.

Children moving on to school are well supported. There are strong relationships with schools, especially the local school.

Centre leaders are focused on improving the quality of education and care for children. They support children and families, especially those who are new to the area. They have extended the support provided to teachers as changes are being made to centre management and the programme. Leaders are increasing opportunities for staff to share their expertise for the benefit of children.

The centre’s management committee is actively working to make improvements to the way the centre is governed. The committee has sought external assistance to improve its performance and understanding of committee members’ roles and responsibilities. Policies are now being appropriately reviewed. The committee has successfully managed significant building developments and improvements to the outdoor areas. Resources that support children’s interests and play are of high quality and they are well managed.

Teachers have a useful plan for self review. They have completed some reviews that have resulted in improvements to resources, the environment, and how children are supported to move on to school.

Key Next Steps

Teachers are aware of the need to further extend the programme and their teaching approaches to meet the individual needs of all children. These include improving consistency across all teachers to:

  • make better use of their conversations with children to deepen children’s thinking and support their problem solving
  • show more clearly in planning and assessment how they will build on children’s strengths, interests and capabilities
  • review the organisation and content of group programmes in the over two areas to make sure they provide effectively for the individual interests, strengths and capabilities of children.

ERO recommends that teachers seek further professional development to help them to strengthen how they assess and plan for children’s learning.

The teachers have reviewed the centre’s philosophy. This needs further development to show how it directly links to the vision and goals in the centre’s strategic plan. This should also help teachers to have a shared understanding of appropriate teaching approaches.

Teachers have a useful process and plan for self review. The next steps to improve centre review include making stronger links between the centre’s vision and philosophy and review focuses, and increasing the opportunity for teachers to use the centre’s process for self review.

The centre’s committee is improving the way the centre is governed and managed. Further developments should include:

  • clarifying governance and management responsibilities
  • establishing a management framework and leaders’ roles and responsibilities to guide the day-to-day operation of the centre
  • improving appraisal processes for managers and teachers
  • making sure strategic and annual planning processes are developed from the vision for the future direction of the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Swannanoa 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:

  • 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.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Swannanoa Preschool will be within two years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

5 March 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


Swannanoa, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 20 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%;

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnicities




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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

5 March 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

October 2010


Education Review

May 2007


Accountability Review

May 2005

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.