The Tree Hut Preschool Limited - 23/09/2019

1 Evaluation of The Tree Hut Preschool Limited

How well placed is The Tree Hut Preschool Limited to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The Tree Hut Preschool Limited is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


The Tree Hut Preschool Limited is a small family-owned and operated early childhood service in Cheviot, North Canterbury. It is a well-established service that provides full-day care and education for up to 30 children, including 10 aged under two. There are separate play and learning areas for older children, infants and toddlers.

The owners are the centre leaders and managers. They are supported by a team of teachers. Most of the teachers are qualified early childhood teachers. Some of the staff have additional qualifications which brings a broad range of skills and perspectives to the team.

The philosophy states that the owners and teachers aim to keep children, whānau and community at the core of what they do. By building nurturing and trusting relationships they aim to give children a sense of belonging and security. They wish for the Tree Hut to be a 'home away from home'. Priorities for learning include developing children's emotional intelligence, relationships, ability to take risks in their learning, resilience and self-esteem.

The owners and teachers have made good progress in addressing the recommendations of the 2015 ERO Review report. This includes seeking parent's and child's views and considering these when making decisions, strengthening the strategic plan, and implementing a more robust appraisal process. The service has a positive reporting history with ERO.

The Review Findings

The owners have established a clear vision and philosophy for the service. These have been influenced by the views and wishes of the families who attend. The philosophy is evident in practice. It guides the long and short-term direction and decision-making in the centre. Parents are well informed about the valued learning outcomes within the centre.

Children play and learn in calm, settled, well-presented learning environments. They show a strong sense of belonging. This is evident in the way they confidently use the equipment and play materials and join in the routines and rhythms of the day. Children are purposeful, engaged in their learning and relate well to one another. They benefit from attentive and nurturing relationships with their teachers. Infants and toddlers are well supported through close, responsive interactions with their teachers and the separate thoughtfully prepared learning area for their age group.

The team are committed to providing a high-quality service for children and their families. This includes providing parent education evenings, and working with external agencies and services to seek help when needed. Children with additional needs benefit from the way the owners work with specialists to develop individual programmes and then put the programmes into practice.

The team plan and implement learning programmes that are based on Te Whariki - the early childhood curriculum. They are becoming familiar with the revised Te Whariki (2017). However, there is potential for the whole team to deeply explore this document and consider implications for current practice and for change.

Teachers provide many opportunities for children to make connections within the local community, and to explore and learn about the natural world. Teachers, with practical support from whānau, are continuing to strengthen the bicultural programme. This is helping all children to know about New Zealand's dual heritage, and Māori children to know their language and culture are valued.

There are well established systems for assessing and planning for individual and groups of children. Teachers use their knowledge to provide a range of experiences within the programme that follow and extend children's interests. They regularly seek parents' wishes for children's learning. The next step is to extend the records of planning and assessment to show more clearly the intended learning and the intentional teaching strategies that have been planned to enable the learning. They should then ensure that evaluations show the progress children have made and the effectiveness of the teaching strategies.

The owners have established a positive team culture and are improvement focussed. They and the team reflect on centre practices and make improvements. Internal evaluation processes focus on areas that are likely to make a difference to outcomes for children. For example, the way children transition to school has been strengthened as a result of a recent internal evaluation. Internal evaluation practices can be strengthened by making better use of indicators of best practice to guide the evaluation process and to know if the improvements have made the expected difference to outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

To further improve outcomes for children the key next steps for the owners and teachers are to continue to strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation practices for groups and individual children. Documentation needs to make the intended learning clear. When evaluating they need to show effectiveness of intentional teaching strategies and show the learning that has occurred.

A next step for the team is to continue to strengthen internal evaluation practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of The Tree Hut Preschool Limited 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

23 September 2019

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

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

23 September 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

July 2015

Education Review

February 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.