Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Little Sprouts - 02/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts

How well placed is Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts 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.


Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts is a privately owned full-day education and care service located in Huntly. The centre is licensed for children from approximately three to five years. It is licensed for 40 children. The current roll of 34 children includes 21 who identify as Māori.

The centre was purchased by current management in November 2016 and received its full licence in May 2017. Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts and Tots n Toddlers are owned and managed by a central director. She oversees the governance and business operation in both centres, along with involvement in the day-to-day running.

The centre philosophy was recently reviewed to reflect new ownership and changes to the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The revised philosophy outlines that cultural diversity is recognised and celebrated, the environment for learning reflects a calm, home-like atmosphere, individuality is respected and children are supported to learn at their own pace so they develop life skills to be competent and confident. A holistic and personal approach facilitates children’s sense of belonging. Little Sprouts aims for a high-quality education and care centre.

This is the first ERO report for this centre.

The Review Findings

Children are encouraged to lead their own learning through choices and decision making. A welcoming and caring atmosphere is fostered for each child and their family. Teachers know the children and their families well. Respectful interactions are evident.

A wide range of experiences, opportunities and resources promote a rich curriculum for children. Trips into the local community extend children’s understanding of the world around them. Teachers are extending their understanding and confidence to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori into the learning environment. The environment is spacious with distinct indoor and outdoor areas. Children move freely between these areas exploring and following their interests.

Teachers work alongside children and support their play through conversations, questioning and sharing ideas. Oral language, numeracy and literacy are naturally woven throughout the daily programme. Children are confident to take risks and challenge themselves.

Strengthening transition for children into, through and beyond the centre is a current focus. Staff are deepening their relationships with local schools. Practices and processes are being reviewed between the centres to better respond to individual children’s needs at transition times.

Children with additional needs are supported to fully participate in the experiences and opportunities for learning. Specialist agencies are involved and support the centre with advice and guidance. Children are supported to be confident and competent learners.

Children’s learning stories show individual interests, curiosity and exploration. Programme planning follows themes and group interests, with a mix of activities and experiences offered for children. A new approach for planning has recently been introduced. Continuing to build alignment of assessment, planning and evaluation is a key next step. This should include extending:

  • the visibility of children’s language, culture and identity in assessment

  • progress and continuity of learning over time for all children

  • purposeful inclusion of parent voice and aspirations.

Leaders give priority to equitable outcomes for children. Staff are actively encouraged to engage in relevant professional learning and development opportunities. Collaborative ways of working are fostered with the teaching team. Children’s learning and wellbeing outcomes inform decision making.

Leaders are extending their understanding and implementation of strategies to build teacher capability. This includes a newly developed appraisal system. Active involvement in the local early learning networks supports professional discussions and informs decision making. It is timely for leaders to develop clear expectations for high-quality teaching and learning to better support clarity and consistency of practice.

The philosophy, vision and values effectively support and guide learning outcomes for children. A clear strategic plan guides direction and improvement of the centre. Parents are consulted and have opportunities to contribute to plans, policies and actions. Deepening the understanding of effective strategic evaluation and self review for ongoing centre-wide improvement is a priority.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for centre improvement are to:

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation

  • develop clear expectations for high-quality teaching and learning

  • strengthen effective evaluation and self review for ongoing improvement centre wide.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts 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.

To improve current practice, the early childhood service management should:

  • analyse accidents regularly to inform hazards identification

  • strengthen the process for recording and responding to complaints.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Tic Tac Toe Educare Little Sprouts will be in three years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

2 November 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



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 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21 Girls 13

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

2 November 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.