The Ark Preschool - 21/12/2017

1 Evaluation of The Ark Preschool

How well placed is The Ark Preschool 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.


The Ark Preschool provides education and care for children between two and five years of age. It is a community-based standalone centre operating as a charitable trust. The centre is affiliated to the Richmond Baptist Church. Christian values are evident in the centre's philosophy and values.

The 2015 ERO review found that some aspects of governance and management needed further development. These included internal evaluation, strategic planning and appraisal.

ERO and the Ministry of Education (MOE) worked with the centre to develop an action plan in order to address the report recommendations. The MOE and a professional development provider have worked closely with the centre over the past two years.

A new head teacher was appointed at the beginning of 2017. She had previously been working as a teacher at the centre.

The Review Findings

Centre teachers have continued to provide an effective learning environment where children are free to initiate and lead their play. The positive interactions between teachers and children encourage curiosity and exploration. Teachers extend children's thinking and language through following children's interests and offering them appropriate challenges. All three of New Zealand's official languages (including te reo Māori and sign language) are used in the centre.

Leaders and teachers have developed a philosophy that reflects the values and beliefs of teachers, parents, whānau and community. Teachers have reviewed their understandings of what they value in children's learning. Christian values remain prominent in their "learn to love and love to learn" philosophy. The work in this area has led to better shared understandings about what they value collectively.

Leaders have made considerable improvements to systems and processes. The influence of external support is evident in these improvements. Teachers and leaders now have a structured approach to assessment, planning and evaluation of programmes for individuals, groups and the centre as a whole. Partnerships with whānau are now more evident in teachers' assessment and planning.

There are improved processes and practices for aspects of leadership and management. The head teacher has undertaken comprehensive leadership professional development during 2017. The new appraisal system allows for more formal teacher reflection. Centre staff have taken on leadership roles. This has led to greater empowerment of teachers, and a more collaborative approach to leadership across the centre.

Key Next Steps

Leaders now need to ensure that the positive changes made to systems and practices are well embedded and implemented by all centre staff.

There needs to be greater consistency in the way that teachers assess and plan for children's learning and evaluate their individual and group teaching. The new online system for recording assessment and planning is beginning to lead to greater consistency. Leaders need to identify how and where evaluation of these plans is recorded.

Leaders and teachers need to refine the way that they record and undertake internal evaluation. They need to make sure they begin the process with a strong evaluative question, and identify how they will measure success through indicators of desired outcomes for children and the centre. The current evaluation of bicultural practice provides an ideal starting point for this approach.

Leaders need to rationalise and simplify strategic and annual planning. This involves the strategic goals being clearly defined with measurable indicators of success, and the steps to achieve the goals recorded in annual planning. This is likely to mean that there is better alignment between the centre's strategic goals, annual plans and the teachers' performance agreements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of The Ark 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of The Ark Preschool will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 December 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29; Boys 23

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

21 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

August 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.