Tinytown Otahuhu - 01/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Tinytown Otahuhu

How well placed is Tinytown Otahuhu 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.


Tinytown Otahuhu operates from two neighbouring renovated bungalows. The nursery caters for infants and toddlers as well as for children up to three years of age. The other house accommodates children from three years until they attend school. This part of the facility also has an extended and renovated garage, the Rainbow Class that is available for children's play and accessible from the outdoors. Both houses have their own separate outdoor areas, with the one for older children being particularly spacious.

A third house on the same site has recently been renovated and is due to open when Ministry of Education licencing requirements are complete. This new part of the centre will cater for children aged from four and a half years until they go to school and will share the facilities for children in the over three part of the centre.

The Tinytown group of centres, including Otahuhu, Mt Wellington and Pakuranga have for many years been owned and governed by the same family. A good number of teachers at the Otahuhu centre have worked at various Tinytown centres for many years. Since the 2013 ERO report, a new manager of Tinytown Otahuhu has been appointed. The programme is influenced by Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum and framed by Christian beliefs and practices.

The 2013 ERO report identified positive aspects of the centre that included the good quality centre environment and caring relationships. It recommended that managers work strategically to improve the quality of teaching and learning practices and the learning programmes for children.

The Review Findings

Children in this centre are friendly and kind to each other and settle well into the routines of their day. They experience positive relationships with their teachers. Teachers are gentle and caring, and interact respectfully with children and their families. They are affectionate and nurturing with infants and toddlers.

Many teachers communicate with children and families in their home languages, including Samoan and Hindi. These teachers understand the importance of promoting children's home languages in supporting the learning of English. During their play, children with the same cultural backgrounds chat comfortably together in their home languages.

Teachers use te reo Māori informally with children, and support the learning of te reo through waiata. Aspects of Māori culture, such as Mātariki are included in the programme at different times of the year along with other celebrations such as Queen's Birthday and Diwali.

Teachers plan programmes that are based on monthly topics, identified generally from their observation of children's interests. They plan activities around these topics and work alongside children, engaging them in simple conversation about their play. Teachers provide some good opportunities for older children to play uninterrupted for extended periods of time.

The owners/managing directors continue to provide the overarching policy framework for the centre. The centre manager has a new and developing role that includes responsibilities for strategic and annual planning, curriculum overview, appraisal and other self-review.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager recognises that teachers should design a curriculum that is based on children's emerging interests. ERO recommends that the directors and manager plan strategically to improve the quality of teaching, and learning programmes for children. This strategic improvement approach includes management:

  • resourcing and accessing whole-centre professional learning led by an external specialist to strengthen teachers' skills in responding to children at a deeper level

  • recognising teachers' strengths and planning for them to be curriculum leaders

  • aligning the centre's strategic planning to teachers' professional learning needs and appraisal goals, and to financial resourcing requirements

  • improving how well managers and teachers evaluate centre goals and measure the impact of professional learning.

The directors have made some changes to align teachers' appraisal to the New Zealand Education Council requirements, especially in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria. However they should review and revise centre's performance management policy so that it clearly and succinctly identifies what teachers are required to do by legislation in order to become fully certificated. ERO recommends that centre managers seek external support to improve how the teacher appraisal process is documented and implemented.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tinytown Otahuhu 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 Tinytown Otahuhu will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 September 2016

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


Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 44 Girls 32

Ethnic composition





Fijian Indian


Middle Eastern

Cook Island Māori











Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

1 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Education Review

February 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.