The Ark Early Learning Centre - 12/10/2016

1 Evaluation of The Ark Early Learning Centre

How well placed is The Ark Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The Ark Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


The Ark Early Learning Centre is a Christian, community-based early childhood education and care service. It is a sister centre to The Rainbow Early Learning Centre. They are governed and managed by the Person-to-Person Help Trust in association with the Kaiapoi Baptist Church. The centre is located next to the church building and has separate indoor and outdoor areas for the nursery and preschool. Most teachers are fully qualified and experienced in early childhood education.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been significant and recent changes in the way the two centres are governed and managed. This centre has been the most affected by the changes in staffing and leadership.

A manager is responsible for the centres as well as the Trust’s other services. Since the beginning of 2016, a new head teacher with ECE qualifications has been appointed to oversee the day-to-day running of both centres. This has increased the partnership between the two centres. There has been greater involvement of the Trust in monitoring the centre's progress and development.

The Review Findings

Teachers promote positive relationships. Ratios of children to adults are low and group sizes are small so that children have frequent and close interactions with familiar adults who know them well.

Children in the nursery benefit from teachers' strong emphasis on relationships with adults. They have close, nurturing interactions with these very young children, and extend children’s use of language and awareness of literacy.

In the preschool, teachers work at children’s level, helping them access resources, and providing a range of interesting activities. Teachers support children’s social competence and help them to learn to play successfully with others.

Children are well supported to move from the nursery to preschool by flexible approaches that recognise their individual preferences.

Teachers are increasing the ways they find out about parents' aspirations for their children’s learning.

Teachers are focused on and have a growing awareness through professional learning of how they can better support Māori learners and increase bicultural learning experiences for all children.

The head teacher is playing a key role in helping teachers to make better use of ongoing professional development opportunities to reflect on their practice and collaborate more between the centres. The building of a stronger reflective culture among teachers is supporting improved centre self-review practices. The most recent collaborative self review between the two centres is well focused on improving teaching and learning outcomes for children.

Trustees, managers and teachers make considered decisions that prioritise and support the needs of children and their families. The Trust has strengthened its awareness of its governance role and responsibilities. In collaboration with managers and teachers it has set shared directions for the centre's future development. Teachers make good use of the Trust’s work and links in the local community to provide additional support and resources to families.

Key Next Steps

With recent changes in centre governance, more settled leadership and greater collaboration between the centres, this centre is now in a good position to move forward with improving aspects of the programme and practices.

The trustees, managers and ERO agree the key next steps for this centre include:

  • further building on the increased partnership and alignment between the two centres by strengthening centre strategic planning, sharing best practice and establishing robust processes for shared self-review

  • improving the quality of programme planning and assessment practices

  • increasing the range of strategies teachers use to extend children’s problem solving and thinking skills

  • strengthening links with local schools to support children’s transition to school

  • continuing to implement plans to support Māori learners and increase bicultural practices within the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

12 October 2016

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

46 children, including up to 12 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 29; Girls 18

Ethnic composition





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

August 2016

Date of this report

12 October 2016

Most recent ERO reports 

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

October 2006

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.