Topkids Pukuatua - 05/06/2014

1 Evaluation of Topkids Pukuatua

How well placed is Topkids Pukuatua 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.


Topkids Pukuatua is located near the centre of Rotorua. It provides fulltime or sessional education and care for families from the city and surrounding areas. The centre is licensed for 122 children, including a maximum of 25 children up to two years of age. At the time of this ERO review, the roll of 141 children included 68 Māori children, seven Pacific children, and five children identified as having special needs. The centre has significantly increased opportunities for many local families to access early childhood education by lowering fees, and providing transport for some children.

The centre is divided into two mixed-age areas. The Te Totara Room for three to five year olds consists of a large outdoor space and several indoor areas, including a quiet area for the youngest children. The Te Tipu Room for children up to three years old includes separate indoor and outdoor areas for babies and toddlers. Outdoor playgrounds in both areas have recently been upgraded, and the Te Tipu Room was altered to accommodate babies and toddlers in October 2013.

The centre continues to operate under the umbrella of Kidicorp Ltd. This organisation provides overall strategic direction and comprehensive systems to guide centre operations. In June 2013, Kidicorp merged Topkids Pukuatua and another centre, and appointed a new centre manager. It has recently appointed a deputy manager and two head teachers. There have also been significant changes to the membership of the teaching team, which currently includes eleven fully qualified early childhood teachers, one trainee teacher and six caregivers.

Teachers aim to develop confident children, who are literate, socially and emotionally competent, and have positive attitudes to learning and 'giving things a go'. They believe that children learn best through child-initiated, resourced-based play, extension of their interests and meaningful literacy experiences. Teachers place a strong emphasis on responding to babies and toddlers needs and interests in consultation with families and whānau.

The 2011 ERO report acknowledged high-quality systems of self review and improvements in the quality of care and education. It identified the need to continue to strengthen teaching practices, including incorporation of bicultural perspectives, opportunities for children to interact with the natural world, and increasing parents’ contribution and involvement in their children’s learning.

The Review Findings

Children are capable, competent and independent learners and communicators. They play well together, building constructions and developing complex imaginative play. Children actively explore the environment and are particularly energetic in the outdoor area. They learn to make good choices and to take risks in safe, closely monitored situations. Children confidently initiate interactions with adults and peers and share their assessment portfolios, ideas and experiences with others. They demonstrate well-developed strategies to solve problems and resolve conflict.

Interactions with babies and toddlers are respectful and nurturing. Teachers respond promptly to infant’s early language and non verbal cues. They make the most of the opportunities that care routines provide for high-quality interactions with individual children. Teachers work closely with parents and whānau to identify and respond to infants’ individual needs and home routines. Older babies and toddlers enjoy sitting with their friends at meal times and feeding themselves. Non-mobile babies have a separate area to practice their developing physical skills.

Adult interactions with children are positive, respectful and caring. Teachers are very sensitive to children’s emotional needs and have well developed positive guidance and settling strategies. They skilfully foster development of social, language and physical skills, and appropriate interactions between children of different ages. Literacy, mathematical, and scientific learning, the creative arts and aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori are well integrated in to the programme. Children with identified learning needs receive specialist support, and teachers are responsive to their needs. Children of all ages have independent access to a wide variety of thoughtfully presented equipment and resources.

Parents are kept well informed about their children’s learning through informal conversations and their children’s portfolios. Parents can also participate in six monthly parent-teacher meetings to share their aspirations for their children, and to review and plan for their child’s learning. In this context it would be appropriate to consult Māori and Pacific parents about what achieving success as a Māori or a Pacific person means for them, and their aspirations for their children in terms of their language and culture.

The knowledgeable centre manager provides effective leadership for the teaching team and parent community. She has successfully merged two sets of staff, parents and children by:

  • establishing strong and respectful relationships and open communication between all members of the centre’s community
  • developing a positive team culture, shared teaching philosophy and expectations
  • fostering emergent leadership and using coaching and ongoing reflection to improve teaching practice
  • using self review to ensure thoughtful, collaborative and inclusive decision making in response to emerging issues.

Area managers place a strong emphasis on improving the quality of education and care provided by the centre. They know the centre well, closely monitor its performance and formulate strategic and business plans to guide future development. At the time of the merger the business manager effectively supported the centre leader to manage the change. They met with families and staff of both centres to discuss the merger and options to maintain existing services.

Key Next Steps

Through focused self review managers have identified, and ERO agrees, that a useful next step for the centre is to continue to build on the good progress made in developing planning and assessment practices, including:

  • further reflecting the languages, cultures and identities of Māori, Pacific and other children in programme planning and assessment portfolios
  • prompt sharing amongst teachers of children’s specific learning and interests, and appropriate strategies to challenge and inspire children to explore these further.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Topkids Pukuatua completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they select ‘have’ or ‘have not’ 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 Topkids Pukuatua will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

5 June 2014

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

122 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other Asian






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

April 2014

Date of this report

5 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

March 2011


Education Review

March 2010

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.

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.