Tiaki Early Learning Centre - 29/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Tiaki Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Tiaki Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Tiaki Early Learning Centre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Tiaki Early Learning Centre is a privately-owned education and care centre located at Hinemoa Point in the Rotorua suburb of Ōwhata. It is licensed for 30 children including 10 children up to the age of two. The centre enrols children two years and older. The current roll of 42 includes 13 children who identify as Māori. The centre operates between 7.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Thursday and from 7.30am to 3.30pm on Fridays. The children spend some time each day in activities organised specifically for their age and other parts of the day in a mixed-age setting. There are three age groups - pōtiki, (2 years old), teina, (3 years old), tuakana (4 years old).

The centre owner and a head teacher continue to manage and lead the centre while also working in a teaching capacity. Over 80% of teachers are qualified early childhood educators.

Through the centre philosophy teachers aspire to support young people to walk softly on the earth, to live consciously and respectfully with themselves and others and to journey comfortably in both the Pākehā and Māori worlds.

The Review Findings

The centre vision statement underpins a place-based, local curriculum. It focuses on outcomes for children under four pou. Through the pou of Te Puna o Te Aroha children learn self-management and social skills. A sense of social justice is encouraged and an appreciation of diversity. Through the pou of Ngā Āhuatanga hei Ako children develop foundational aspects of learning such as perseverance, confidence and curiosity.

Teachers use a range of highly effective teaching strategies across the four pou. In the Ngā Reo e Rua pou the history of Ngāti Roro o te Rangi and Te Arawa generally are taught through local pūrākau (stories) and waiata. This approach opens up opportunities for the development of foundation literacy skills. Regular, day long visits undertaken year-round to sights of local significance reinforce this local history in a meaningful context, as well as promoting a close affinity with nature.

The centre is growing its ability to respond to children of Pacific heritage by undertaking professional development in this area. Waka huia affirm children's identity and culture. An ongoing wetland restoration project begun by the centre and worked on weekly by the children contributes to environmental sustainability outcomes within a real-life context under the pou of Te Taiao. Children's involvement in maintaining the extensive centre vegetable gardens also contributes to learning under this pou.

The centre environment, which features a large grassed garden area with many mature trees, offers open ended and natural opportunities for sustained play. It encourages imagination, creativity and oral language development. Centre ratios and an emphasis on peaceful conflict resolution strategies contribute to a settled, calm atmosphere for play and learning.

Children benefit from respectful and reciprocal relationships with teachers. A range of effective positive guidance strategies ensure children's rights are respected and they are given a say in decisions which affect them. Strategies such as ako and tuakana teina give children opportunities to be the teacher and leader. Cooperation and team work are encouraged.

Assessment portfolios, called waka huia (treasure boxes), celebrate children's strengths and interests, mainly in relation to the pou.

After developing strong partnerships with parents and whānau, individual plans are written to respond to children with special needs.

A well informed and clearly articulated philosophy guides centre practice. It is well-aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and reflects a strong commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. There are high levels of ownership of the philosophy amongst staff and it is highly evident in all aspects of centre operations. A well aligned strategic plan clearly identifies the service's priorities and associated goals towards achieving the philosophy.

Responsibility for internal evaluation is shared and is evident in all aspects of centre life. Ongoing development and improvement through internal evaluation is highly visible. Leaders and teachers have developed comprehensive guidelines which clarify how the centre policy framework should be implemented in practice.

Leaders ensure that parents and whānau are fully involved in major decisions that affect centre operations and their children's learning and well-being. They respectfully validate te ao Māori and create opportunities for the local hapū, Te Roro o te Rangi, to voice their views and shape aspects of the curriculum. They have developed strong relational trust with and amongst teachers and staff. There are opportunities to take responsibility and show leadership. There is a culture of critical reflection. The performance management system aligns with the requirements of the Teaching Council of New Zealand and supports teacher improvement. There are many opportunities for professional training and development both individual and centre-wide.

Key Next Steps

To sustain and improve on the good practice, the service and ERO agree the centre priorities are to continue:

  • extending on the intentional approaches to the identification of individual learning goals in relation to the centre's local curriculum; and more clearly show how teachers plan to respond to these goals and monitor progress over time
  • growing the use of te reo Māori by children, with the aim of extending their functional fluency by the time they leave for school. This would align with current government policy for Māori language revitalisation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tiaki Early Learning 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.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

29 June 2020

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


Ōwhata, Rotorua

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

Male 24 Female 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2020

Date of this report

29 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2016

Education Review

September 2014

Education Review

March 2010

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.