Swannanoa Preschool - 08/08/2019

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

Swannanoa Preschool is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Swannanoa Preschool is a community-based, not-for-profit, purpose-built early learning centre located in rural Canterbury in the Swannanoa school grounds.

The centre is governed by a parent-led committee. A manager oversees day-to-day operation. The assistant manager has oversight of the curriculum, and learning and teaching. Team Leaders lead teams in the various rooms. All teachers are qualified and certificated. It is licensed for 100 children, including up to 25 aged under-two, and operates five days a week from 9.00am until 3.00pm. Children learn and play in four different rooms depending on age and readiness.

The preschool philosophy states that desired outcomes for children are:

  • social and communication skills

  • language acquisition, literacy and numeracy skills

  • curiosity and creativity

  • resilience, self-regulation, confidence, awareness of their own identity, culture and language

  • respect and care for the environment.

Leaders and teachers have continued to improve and embed the key next steps identified in the September 2015 ERO report. The team is future focused and currently growing leadership capability amongst staff.

The centre belongs to the Puketaraki Kāhui Ako| Community of Learning (COL).

The Review Findings

Children take part in rich learning experiences based on the principles and outcomes of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. They are encouraged to make choices and become independent learners. Teachers' commitment to bicultural practices is supporting them to grow in their knowledge and understanding of New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Authentic learning experiences such as those presented around environmental sustainability are also a strong focus in the programme.

Children benefit from strongly respectful, caring relationships. Teachers have developed a culture of inclusion and trust. Parents are welcomed, and teachers draw on their expertise as valued partners in their child's learning. Children are settled and show a strong sense of ownership and belonging.

Children and teachers take ownership of, and pride in, the environment. The indoor and outdoor design, and purposeful, considered way teachers set up activities each day, provide children with challenge, variety and interest.

Infants and toddlers benefit from a well-planned programme and playing and learning in a calm, slow-paced environment. Their oral language is promoted. Age-appropriate resources are easy for them to access. Teachers carry out caregiving routines in a responsive, positive and respectful manner by knowing children's non-verbal cues and needs well.

The aspirations of parents of Māori children are sought, valued and used in planning. The skills of some whānau are used to help teachers and children grow their understanding of te ao Māori.

Planning for children's learning is appropriately based on their interests and goals, and parents' aspirations. Records of assessment clearly outline children's progress and teacher's planning to support children's next steps.

Teachers are reflective about their practice. This results in positive changes for children. There is a useful process to guide internal evaluation practice. Leaders and teachers can further strengthen internal evaluation practices by ensuring the focus is on how well their programmes and practices are contributing to improved outcomes for children.

A strong, capable, professional team leads this high performing centre. Leaders have successfully fostered links with the wider community through local schools, the COL and external agencies to further enhance the learning programme.

Staff wellbeing is well supported by the leaders and governing committee. Teachers are highly valued. They benefit from the supportive environment.

The centre is effectively governed and managed. Useful guidelines and systems are in place to support shared understanding of expectations for high quality practice. Refining the format of the strategic plan will more clearly identify strategic and day-to-day business.

Key Next Steps

The priority for this centre is to continue to build understanding and implementation of effective internal evaluation as a tool for improvement.

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.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

8 August 2019

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 Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 74, Boys 80

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

June 2019

Date of this report

8 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

September 2015

Education Review

March 2014

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.