Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Ltd - 14/03/2014

1 Evaluation of Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Ltd

How well placed is Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Ltd 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 Ltd is a privately owned education and care service located adjacent to the central business district of Huntly. The centre provides for children from birth to school age in a diverse, multi-cultural community. This diversity is reflected in the cultures represented in the centre among children and staff. This is the first education review of the centre which opened in mid 2012.

The centre is licensed for 46 children, including 16 aged under 2 Years. The current roll is 66, of whom 29 are Māori. The centre is organised into two age-related areas for children under and over 2 years. There is a designated team leader in each area who has responsibility for the learning programme. The centre owner provides overall management and governance.

The centre’s philosophy emphasises the importance of a partnership with parents, respect for te ao Māori, and the fostering of bicultural practice. A learning programme is promoted, which is based on children’s interests, and supports them to become independent and self managing.

The centre is meeting requirements in regard to the percentage of qualified staff. While there have been some changes in leadership, the owner and staff have made good progress in establishing the centre on a firm foundation in a relatively short period of time.

The Review Findings

The centre owner has developed sound policies and procedures to guide centre operations. She places priority on the care of individual children and fostering positive and reciprocal relationships with their families. Effective self-review processes, including regular consultation with families, are evident throughout the centre and are contributing strongly to the development and improvement of this new service. The owner has provided ongoing support for the professional development of staff, and has accessed appropriate outside expertise to assist in governance, management and learning.

Team leaders in each age-based room are knowledgeable about early childhood education and model effective teaching practice. They work cooperatively with the centre owner and staff in the best interests of children and families. These leaders and staff are reflective about their practice and are focused on ongoing improvement to the centre environment and learning programme. Teachers’ individual strengths and cultures are valued and used to enhance the programme for children. Expectations for the staff roles and responsibilities are clearly documented.

Infants, toddlers and older children enjoy access to a wide range of interesting learning experiences. Good quality equipment and materials that promote exploration, curiosity and creativity are available. There are many opportunities for children to challenge themselves, develop physically and engage in dramatic play. Meaningful experiences such as regular baking, gardening and use of the facilities in the local community are particular features of the programme. Routines are flexible and allow children to pursue and sustain their interests over time. Teachers support children to be independent and self managing.

As a result of self review, the outside area for infants and toddlers is currently being renovated and extended. This will allow children to have greater opportunities to explore, experience challenge and have contact with the natural world.

The language, culture and identity of Māori children are highly valued and visible throughout the programme and environment. The programme is further enriched by the recognition and celebration of the diverse cultures of other children.

Teachers use a range of effective and inclusive practices to engage children in learning. They know children and their families well and have established a welcoming and inviting environment throughout the centre. Teachers in the under-two area provide nurture and affection for children through responsive care practices. Infants and toddlers demonstrate confidence as they explore and communicate among familiar adults and other children. In the over-two area, teachers make good use of open questioning and conversations to extend children’s learning and problem-solving skills.

Teachers plan and evaluate a stimulating learning programme that is underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and linked to children’s identified interests. Children’s learning and development is recorded in informative and attractive centre displays, individual portfolios, and is accessible to parents on line.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders recognise that important priorities for the ongoing development of the centre are to:

  • strengthen the strategic plan, particularly in relation to long term goals
  • ensure that teachers are receiving regular feedback about their practice through strengthening the appraisal process and observations by team leaders
  • improve acoustics to ensure that noise levels are conducive to effective teaching and learning.

While aspects of early literacy and numeracy learning are evident throughout the programme, further integration of these concepts particularly for older children will be beneficial.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Ltd 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 Tic-Tac-Toe Educare Ltd will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

14 March 2014

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

46 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34

Girls 32

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Cook Islands










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

February 2014

Date of this report

14 March 2014

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.