The Salvation Army Early Childhood Education Centre - 19/02/2018

1 Evaluation of The Salvation Army Early Childhood Education Centre

How well placed is The Salvation Army Early Childhood Education 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 Salvation Army Early Childhood Education Centre opened in 2015 and provides full-day education and care for children from infancy to school age. It is located in Mt Wellington, and is part of a Salvation Army complex, which includes a church, social services and pastoral support. The centre serves a multicultural community with diverse languages, cultures and needs. This is the first ERO review of the centre.

The centre is one of four owned by the Salvation Army. The other centres are in West Auckland and Wellington. A director is responsible for overall management of the service, including employment and liaison with the church management team and wider Salvation Army. The centre has an onsite manager who provides day-to-day management and administration. She leads the development of the centre's vision and focus. In addition, there is a national early childhood education advisor who provides support to the centre manager and director for mission, education and financial issues.

A strong Christian ethos, children learning through play, and recognition of children's cultural identity are integral aspects of the centre's philosophy and operations. Teaching practices and programmes are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and influenced by the philosophical approaches of Reggio Emilia, Maslow and Resources for Infant Educators (RIE).

Since the centre opened there has been significant roll growth and increases in teaching staff. Most staff are qualified teachers. Centre managers have made improvements to the environment and have plans to improve the outdoor play area.

The Review Findings

Children have fun, are confident, and actively engage in play-based learning. They enjoy the company of their teachers and peers. Children have a strong sense of belonging and a growing respect for themselves and others. They know teachers' expectations, and have good opportunities to make choices about their play. Children are developing learning dispositions that support them to be capable, caring learners.

Respectful and supportive relationships between families and staff underpin the centre’s welcoming and inclusive tone and relaxed atmosphere. Centre leaders and staff value whānau and community involvement. Teachers are attentive and responsive to children’s ideas, strengths and preferences. Parents and whānau receive good information about their children's learning and are encouraged to take an active part in the programmes and events. A recent survey indicates high levels of parent satisfaction and appreciation.

Teachers provide a well-resourced, home-like environment that reflects the centre's values, children’s cultures and Māori as tangata whenua. Teachers affirm children’s ideas and support their play. They know children well, and listen carefully to and encourage children to converse and share ideas. Teachers provide very good support for children to maintain their first language and increase their English language abilities.

Teachers build on children’s understanding of the world around them in meaningful ways, and include home languages in greetings, songs and conversations. Teachers encourage children to make choices, develop working theories and be leaders. They look for ways to nurture each child’s self-management and self-esteem. Children under two years of age benefit from respectful nurturing care and have the choice to play with older children for most of the day. Children’s transition to school is well supported, using good processes and an increasing contact with local schools.

Teachers plan and implement a culturally responsive child-centred programme underpinned by the centre philosophy and parent aspirations. Teachers have a genuine commitment to being inclusive and in developing a more bicultural curriculum. Te reo and tikanga Māori are woven through the programme. Teachers' programme planning reflects children’s interests and culture as well as current theories and research. Children’s assessment portfolios are highly valued records of learning and development.

Centre leaders have a strong commitment to equity and social justice. They are advocates for improving educational and social outcomes for children. Child-focused centre operations are guided by a clear vision with sound accountability practices. There are good systems in place to monitor children's physical and emotional wellbeing.

Teachers work collaboratively as a new team. The centre manager is developing cohesive team practices through mentoring and ongoing professional development. She provides strong professional leadership and encourages all staff to share strengths and take on leadership roles. A robust appraisal process supports teachers to improve their professional capabilities. Centre leaders are developing a culture of teacher reflection and ongoing improvement. They are aware that internal evaluation could be more evaluative and collaborative, and that they could improve the documentation of their evaluation.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that next steps for ongoing improvement include:

  • ensuring teaching strategies and the environment promote challenge and complexity in children's learning
  • deepening culturally responsive teaching practices
  • strengthening internal evaluation so it is more robust and evaluative, and is guided by indicators of effective practice
  • developing a strategic plan that aligns to the centre's vision and philosophy.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

19 February 2018 

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 


Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

45 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


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

December 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

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.