Topkids Pukuatua - 05/10/2017

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.


Top Kids Pukuatua is an early childhood care and education service owned and operated by Best Start, a private company. It is licensed for 112 children including 25 up to the age of two. There are currently 103 children on the roll, 50 of whom are Māori. Many of these whakapapa to Te Arawa, the local iwi whānui. There is also a significant number of children from other ethnic backgrounds including Pākehā, Asian and Indian.

The centre provides a full-day programme across two rooms, Te Totara for the over twos and Te Tipu for those under three years. Opening hours are from 7.30am until 5.30pm each week day. The centre aims to work together with families and whānau to provide a positive, friendly and engaging environment that nurtures children's self esteem and strengthens confidence.

A new management team, consisting of a centre manager and two head teachers has recently been appointed. These leaders are supported by a large management team including business and professional services managers, who have developed systems and processes to support the centre in all aspects of its operation. Over 80% of the teaching team are qualified early childhood practitioners.

The centre has responded positively to the areas for review and development identified in the 2014 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children, their parents and whānau benefit from a programme which responds to their specific strengths, interests and needs. To mitigate potential barriers for some children, transport and healthy are provided. This means children can make the most of the opportunities to play and learn the centre provides.

Children are well supported to develop their social skills and to become independent and self managing. Parents spoken to by ERO appreciate the varied opportunities children have to learn about and explore the world both within and outside the centre, including swimming lessons at the local pool. There are many opportunities for parents to become involved in their children's learning through the large number of events and trips that teachers organise.

The celebration of all the diverse ethnic backgrounds of children at the centre promotes a strong sense of belonging and an inclusive culture. Encouragement for children to become bicultural citizens is strongly evident. The service has developed a kawa document that helps to ensure Māori concepts, beliefs and values are integrated throughout the programme. Kaiako are committed to increasing the amount of te reo Māori heard and used by children. A 'Be School Ready' initiative and regular school visits helps to ensure children experience a smooth transition to school.

Children benefit from warm, caring and nurturing relationships with kaiako who use a wide range of strategies to support children's oral language development and extend their thinking. Kaiako ensure the learning environment is well prepared to support children's learning and play. Flexible routines encourage children to lead their own learning.

Infants and toddlers experience a caring, calm and unhurried environment in the Te Tipu room. They feel secure to learn and play alone or with others. There are many opportunities for young children to interact with their older peers at certain times during the day. Infants and toddlers are highly engaged in exploring their world for sustained periods of time. Flexible care routines respect children's rights and transition processes to the older children's room are responsive to each individual's developmental needs. Catering for children with diverse needs is a particular priority for centre kaiako, who know children and whānau very well and work hard to respond to their needs.

Positive outcomes for children are enhanced by the various ways the centre communicates with and supports parents and whānau. Parents are very appreciative of the online portal the centre uses to communicate. This portal gives them convenient access to their child's learning portfolio, enabling them to follow the weekly activities at the centre, make comments and leave messages. A kaiako is always available for parents wishing to speak to someone when they drop off or pick up their children. There is good liaison between van drivers who pick up children daily and kaiako. This communication enables kaiako to know and respond to children's home backgrounds. The centre provides coaching, modelling and material assistance to parents who request it. Kaiako provide a good balance between teacher-directed and child-initiated play. They have developed a useful structure to guide their teacher-directed programming.

New leaders are approachable and provide strong support for kaiako. Leaders encourage kaiako to work as a team and to use their individual strengths and passions to enrich the programme for children. Regular one on one meetings with senior leaders focus on ongoing improvement. There is a mixture of both short term and ongoing professional development based primarily on kaiako needs, as identified through a robust appraisal system. The support of BestStart via professional managers and robust financial, human resource and health and safety systems help ensure the long term sustainability and ongoing improvement of the centre.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree on the following areas for review and development:

Planning and Assessment

  • Strengthen teacher directed programming by ensuring that it focuses more clearly and consistently on learning outcomes for children.

  • Strengthen assessment and planning by exploring a more individualised approach based on personal goals linked to knowledge, skills and dispositions, in conjunction with parents and whānau.

Bicultural Practice

  • Continue to strengthen bicultural practice with a greater emphasis on the history and traditions of Ngāti Whakaue, the local iwi, and by developing the centre kawa document as a tool for internal evaluation.

Internal Evaluation

  • Strengthen ongoing curriculum review to ensure that it has a strong basis in current theory and best practice and that it focusses on both material resources and teacher capability.

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 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 Topkids Pukuatua will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

5 October 2017

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

112 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

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

August 2017

Date of this report

5 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2014

Supplementary Review

March 2011

Education Review

March 2010

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.