Tikipunga Educare - 07/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Tikipunga Educare

How well placed is Tikipunga Educare 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.


Tikipunga Educare provides all day early childhood education and care for a maximum of 50 tamariki, including 16 up to the age of two years. Tamariki enrolled are mainly Māori with small numbers of Pākehā and Tuvaluan. They learn and play in three age-related rooms and share the outdoor area. Many families have generational relationships with the centre.

Whanaungatanga forms the valued basis of the centre's philosophy and guides centre operations. The majority of teaching staff are qualified teachers. The centre prepares and provides meals for the tamariki.

Tikipunga Educare was the first of a group of 11 centres owned by the directors of Educare Early Learning Centres. The shared vision across this group is "Learn, Laugh, Play". The group's senior leadership team provides administrative and professional support. They also monitor and evaluate the centre's progress towards achieving the centre-specific strategic goals aligned to the organisation's goals. Educare's focus over the past three years has prioritised professional learning and development (PLD) in leadership and te ao Māori as underpinning practices. More recently, PLD has included a focus on other aspects of the curriculum, and aspects of performance management.

The centre manager at Tikipunga Educare continues to focus on building a strongly committed teaching team amidst staff changes. Kaiako have made good progress particularly around improving assessment and planning, and building internal evaluation capability as recommended in ERO's 2014 report.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Educare Early Learning Centres organisation.

The Review Findings

Tamariki at Tikipunga Educare are treasured and nurtured by staff. Tamariki are confident and appear to have a clear sense of belonging. The older children flourish in the centre where the teaching team has prioritised working with Māori learners and te ao Māori. All tamariki are encouraged and supported to lead their learning in their own way. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, guides the centre's curriculum and provides primarily play-based experiences. Tamariki with additional learning needs are very well supported to develop at their own pace and are challenged to extend their capabilities.

Infants and toddlers experience unhurried and calm caregiving practices where kaiako respond to their non-verbal cues and gestures. Their environment is attractive and provides quiet spaces and interesting spaces to explore. This group of tamariki has opportunities to engage with their peers and older tamariki.

Kaiako support tamariki to increasingly make their own choices. Communication and laughter amongst tamariki and kaiako contribute to an environment of enjoyment. Teachers of the younger children recognise that they need to adapt their teaching to better reflect te ao Māori that is very evident in the learning space for older tamariki.

Children have many opportunities to explore their growing interests, dispositions and capabilities. They are learning to develop their social competencies through establishing and maintaining friendships. Children are supported to be empowered in their learning and development. Teachers could now include children's thinking and opinions in the centre's internal evaluation.

Teachers have improved their assessment and planning processes, and now plan based on the interests of each child. They continue to improve the way in which they gather, document and respond to parent and family/whānau aspirations.

Evaluations of the educational programmes sometimes show learning outcomes for tamariki. The centre manager agrees that further work is needed to develop consistency in this good practice across the teaching team. The manager is also keen to evaluate the extent to which science and mathematics enable tamariki to make sense of the natural world, and to develop early numeracy skills and understandings.

The environment provides quiet play spaces, both indoors and out. The teachers have thoughtfully created a natural environment using planter boxes, potted plants, rocks and a water feature.

Kaiako encourage parents' involvement in the centre. They provide a welcoming environment and invite families/whanau to share aspirations, children's whakapapa, and stories from their home experiences. Families are kept well informed about their child's learning and involvement in the programme through well written learning stories. The digital portal enables families to comment on, and contribute to, these learning stories.

Kaiako work collaboratively and demonstrate a clear sense of team. They model respectful interactions. Kaiako take responsibility for their own learning, and are building their understanding of te ao Māori. They are well supported, and held accountable, through the organisation's appraisal system. Kaiako are becoming more confident in collating quality evidence to meet the new requirements of the Education Council. Well considered internal PLD is helping to promote consistency in teachers' understanding of appraisal expectations for ongoing improvement.

The centre is a member of the Ngā Kura mō te ako o Whangarei (Raki Whangarei) Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako Group 3. Educare Early Learning Services is very willing to be involved with the kāhui ako and to support the achievement challenges when they are established. Staff will participate in PLD that is funded through the kāhui ako.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for ongoing improvement include:

  • improving internal evaluation to clearly focus on equity and excellence for priority learners, and all tamariki
  • continuing to foster a partnership in learning with parents and families/whānau
  • reviewing the centre philosophy in light of current and proposed staff changes.

Educare Learning Centres managers are focused on improvement. They have identified areas they intend to strengthen across all of their centres. These areas include:

  • strengthening strategic documents by including goals related to valued outcomes for children and using these goals to evaluate centre performance
  • supporting centres to provide high quality service by sharing best practice and strengthening quality assurance processes
  • building on the strong leadership culture that exists across the organisation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tikipunga Educare 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.

Tikipunga Educare should ensure that earthquake drills are carried out with tamariki on at least a three-monthly basis.

[Early Childhood Health and Saftey Regulations 2008, HS8] 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Tikipunga Educare will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 May 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 


Tikipunga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      22
Girls       19

Ethnic composition



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 2018

Date of this report

7 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

July 2007

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.