The Cubbyhouse Early Childhood Centre - 22/01/2015

1 Evaluation of The Cubbyhouse Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is The Cubbyhouse Early Childhood Centre 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 Cubbyhouse Early Childhood Centre is a privately owned education and care service in central New Plymouth. It is one of three centres under the Cubbyhouse umbrella. Opened in October 2013, it is licensed for 105 children including 40 aged up to two.

Full day education and care is provided for infants, toddlers, and young children in the purpose-built premises.

An experienced centre manager leads the teaching team. Most teachers are qualified and registered. Staff and team leader positions have been created as the centre roll has increased during the first year of operation. Teachers are involved in professional learning and development opportunities that are well supported by directors and the manager.

The centre philosophy focuses on the quality of learning, teaching, the environment, and partnerships with parents and whānau. Staff are collaborating with families in an ongoing review of the philosophy and values.

This is the centre's first ERO review.

The Review Findings

Infants and toddlers experience a curriculum that responds to their interests, needs, and special characteristics. Their independence and self-help skills are fostered as they confidently explore the purposeful learning areas.

Flexible and unhurried routines are responsive to children’s routines, preferences and physical development. A relaxed tone is evident. Staff are alert to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues to support their language development. They involve children in decisions and offer them choices in the programme.

The curriculum for children over two years of age is mostly child initiated and play based. Children have opportunities to make decisions, and follow their interests. Respectful relationships are evident between adults and children. Teachers model turn taking and foster children’s social skills. ERO observed children enjoying each other’s company playing with and alongside their peers for periods of time. Inclusive practices are evident. Numeracy and literacy experiences are promoted and encouraged.

Some teachers are confident in promoting and extending older children’s language development, and encouraging problem solving opportunities. Centre managers are aware of the need to further review and develop processes that build on the quality of teaching and learning. ERO's external evaluation affirms this direction.

The centre is welcoming to parents and whānau. Teachers and managers frequently share information with families using a variety of means. Teachers continue to explore ways to find out more about individual children and include this information to plan the programme.

Children's experiences assist them to know about Aotearoa/New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. Leaders express a commitment to strengthening the bicultural programme and building understanding of Māori learners’ culture, language, and identity. ERO's external evaluation affirms this development.

A well-considered flexible approach to supporting transition into and out of the centre meets individual children’s needs. Teachers are beginning to establish and build links with local schools.

Children with additional learning and teaching needs are well supported in the programme.

Assessment portfolios are an attractive record of children’s participation and involvement in centre experiences and activities. Improved centre planning processes are clearly focused on aspects of the learning and teaching that is occurring and is visible for parents. Further developing and embedding assessment and planning processes is a next step.

Useful systems and processes support day-to-day operations. Plans are in place to modify and improve the current staff appraisal process. Proposed changes will strengthen links to the Registered Teacher Criteria, provide a teacher inquiry element, extend feedback to staff, and include Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. There are suitable processes to support those teachers at the beginning of their teaching careers.

The two-year strategic plan identifies priorities from 2014 to 2016, in all aspects of centre operations. A planned, strategic self-review in 2015 is to include the development of clear annual actions and processes for monitoring progress against intended goals.

Review processes are well established and used to inquire into aspects of practice. Extending the use of teaching indicators and more clearly showing the impact of teachers’ practices and learning on the quality of children’s outcomes, are agreed next steps to further guide improvement.

The centre manager supports a strong reflective culture, collegiality, and promotes shared responsibility for aspects of leadership across the centre. Directors and the centre manager are aware of the ongoing importance and need to continue to support leaders and leadership in early childhood education.

Key Next Steps

Centre directors and the manager are focused on ongoing improvements. Further developments should occur in:

  • self review processes

  • aspects of assessment and programme planning

  • annual planning

  • identifying, improving, and developing teaching and learning processes. This should include implementing the revised teacher appraisal process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

22 January 2015

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


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

105 children, including 40 aged up to 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 61, Girls 47

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




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 2014

Date of this report

22 January 2015

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.