The Tree House - 18/01/2016

1 Evaluation of The Tree House

How well placed is The Tree House to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The Tree House is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


The Tree House is located on the grounds of Middlemore Hospital, and provides early childhood education for up to 90 children, including up to 30 children under two years of age. Since the 2012 ERO review, the centre has been relicensed from two to one licence. The centre philosophy is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and also includes aspects of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Children are grouped into five rooms based on their ages, and each has an outdoor play area. The centre serves a culturally diverse community. Teachers are well qualified and reflect the diverse backgrounds of children and families.

The committee that governs the centre employs a manager from Evolve Management to administer the centre. The centre manager provides leadership for the centre, and has responsibility for management and administration systems. The centre has a sound a framework of policies and procedures. The manager works collaboratively with the governance committee, and with supervisors and staff to review and refine governance, management and administration systems and processes.

The centre’s 2012 ERO report commented positively about its relationships with the community; the quality of the learning environment; the integration of literacy, science and mathematics into teaching and learning programmes; and the responsiveness of programmes. The report also identified areas for review and development. These included improving aspects of planning and recording children’s interests, and making clearer links between assessments for individual children, planning and teacher reflections. Good progress has been made to address these and other identified areas.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled in the centre. They respond well to adult support and interactions, and have positive relationships with their friends. Children know about making choices and enthusiastically join planned activities or independently select resources. Children’s different cultures and first languages are well supported in the centre. They have very good access to the outdoors where they are encouraged to explore independently.

Teachers are reflective practitioners who are responsive to children's interests. Their planning is focused on learning outcomes for each of the different age groups and they frequently discuss strategies for extending learning. Good efforts are made to analyse children’s learning in portfolios, and planning and topics are regularly evaluated. Children have good access to their portfolios.

Children’s play is well supported. In the best examples, teachers blend early literacy and mathematics concepts into children’s play. They engage children in imaginative play and art, integrate stories naturally into the programme and use photos to promote discussions with children about their prior learning experiences. In order to match teaching practices more closely to the centre philosophy, teachers should now review the extent to which children are initiating their own play and how well play experiences are enriching children’s curiosity, creativity and imagination.

Teachers have strengthened their focus on celebrating New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and showing respect for Māori as tangata whenua. They document bicultural learning and ensure that all children are provided with opportunities to learn some te reo, including waiata, and to be involved in Matariki celebrations and other Māori customs. The extensive bicultural review undertaken by teachers showed that Māori families feel confident to contribute to the curriculum.

Parents are encouraged to share their aspirations for their children and to be partners in their children’s learning. Teachers provide many opportunities for families to participate in the programme, contribute to reviews and be aware of their children’s progress. Centre leaders and teachers acknowledge that they would like to further develop these partnerships by making more effective use of strategies to involve parents in their children’s learning.

Leadership in the centre is collaborative. Supervisors provide good opportunities for staff to strengthen their own practice through professional learning and development. Staff have opportunities to take on new leadership roles and responsibilities. Centre leaders have a strong commitment to supporting teachers to build their professional capability and expertise.

The centre manager and parent committee provide good governance. The centre manager, appointed in May 2015, is proactive and has worked closely with Middlemore Hospital’s governance body to develop plans for centre extension. The centre will be able to cater for an additional 20 children. There is a strong, shared vision that the centre is focused on serving families, hospital staff and children well. Self-review systems and processes are well developed and provide a strong foundation for ongoing centre improvement.

Key Next Steps

Leaders at The Tree House and ERO agree that next steps for improving centre management, operation and administration are to:

  • further encourage use of te reo Māori in the programme
  • continue to reflect on aspects of centre organisation to increase opportunities for teachers to be responsive to where children are playing and what they are doing
  • better align the committee plan and centre’s strategic plan so that there are common goals and priorities for future planning
  • review the centre's philosophy, particularly aspects relating to the Treaty of Waitangi; approaches for responding to children’s language, identity and culture; and the organisation of children into age groups
  • consider ways to minimise the level of noise in rooms.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of The Tree House 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 Tree House will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 January 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 


Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

90 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      49
Girls       47

Ethnic composition

Fijian Indian


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

October 2015

Date of this report

18 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

July 2012

Education Review

February 2009

Education Review

March 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.