Three Little Birds Kaitaia - 29/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Three Little Birds Kaitaia

How well placed is Three Little Birds Kaitaia to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Three Little Birds Kaitaia is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Three Little Birds Kaitaia is a privately owned centre, which was purchased from ABC Kaitaia and re-opened in 2018. Many families have remained at the service since the change of ownership. The centre provides all-day education and care for up to 40 children, including a maximum of 10 under two years of age. Most children have Māori heritage.

The centre's philosophy promotes respectful and trusting relationships, with a focus on the individual child and their whānau. It encourages a learning programme and environment that captures the child’s strengths, interests and culture through exploration, challenges and fun. The philosophy also places priority on incorporating bicultural practices in the programme.

The Three Little Birds organisation has two other centres in Whangarei. Centres are supported by an operations manager and a professional leader who provide administrative and professional support. The new centre manager oversees day-to-day centre operations. The teaching team includes long-serving and newly employed teachers.

This is the first ERO review of Three Little Birds Kaitaia.

The Review Findings

Children, parents and whānau are welcomed into the centre. Teachers recognise the importance of building respectful and responsive relationships with children and their families. Children are settled and show a good sense of belonging in the centre.

Children work well together in their play, both independently and alongside each other. They communicate confidently with adults and share their individual experiences. Children with additional learning needs are well provided for through external agency support.

Teachers gently support children’s play to extend their interests and learning and to promote oral literacy. Teachers in the tuakana space use open-ended questions very well. Encouraging children's self-management skills is part of the daily routines.

Infants and toddlers receive caring attention from adults who know them well. Teachers respond to their individual needs and care routines, and support learning as children play. Infants and toddlers have good opportunities to mix with older children.

Teachers value and respond to children's diverse cultures. While karakia and waiata are visible in the environment, providing more prompts in the environment could help teachers to increase their use of te reo Māori.

Records of children's learning and development over time are evident in displays and portfolios. Children’s and parents’ contributions are highlighted in learning stories. Teachers communicate with whānau informally to seek their aspirations and expectations. This information could be used to help plan the centre’s programme and respond to children's individual preferences.

A specialist management group provides good support, and keeps the owner informed about the centre operations. The management group has developed policies and procedures that are regularly reviewed by teachers and parents.

Managers are developing a new appraisal process to meet Teaching Council requirements. This will ensure that appraisals are personalised and meaningful for all staff, and monitored on an ongoing basis. Continued professional development should help to embed shared understandings about expectations for teaching, reflective professional practice and 'teaching as inquiry'.

Strategic and annual planning is aligned with the centre’s philosophy and vision. It is timely now to review and adapt strategic and annual plans so they provide clear guidelines for centre development.

Internal evaluation is having a positive impact on children's learning. It includes consultation with children, whānau, parents, managers and staff. Leaders use a systematic approach that is focused on improving the quality of teaching.

As a result of internal evaluation, there have been significant changes to the environment, particularly children's access to resources. To build on these improvements, leaders could consider improving learning resources to encourage greater exploration and complexity in children's play. They could also adapt the infants' learning environment to create a more inviting and comfortable space.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps are to:

  • develop a curriculum that is more responsive to te reo Māori, and the cultural identity of tamariki Māori

  • deepen teachers’ knowledge of the strands, goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki, the revised early childhood curriculum

  • increase teachers' understanding of internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement to teaching practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Three Little Birds Kaitaia 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.

Steve Tanner Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

29 March 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

40 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 23

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


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

January 2019

Date of this report

29 March 2019

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

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.