ToTally Kids - 17/01/2018

1 Evaluation of ToTally Kids

How well placed is ToTally Kids 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.


ToTally Kids, formerly known as Learning Curves Childcare Centre No 2, has changed ownership twice since early 2016, and is in a phase of redevelopment. The service provides full day education and care for up to 28 children over two years old. Children come from a range of cultures, including a small number of Māori children. Pākehā children are the largest enrolled group.

The new owners have operated the centre since June 2017. One of them acts as centre manager. They have had an initial focus on improving health and safety standards and updating centre documentation. As most staff are also relatively new to the centre, there is a focus on building a collaborative team and establishing leadership roles and responsibilities. Staff, three of whom are registered teachers, are being supported by an external mentor to continue their professional development.

In 2014, ERO identified several positive features of centre practice. The inclusive environment and affirming relationships remain evident, and teachers continue to provide a bicultural perspective in programmes. Next steps are to strengthen internal evaluation, the curriculum, planning and assessment, and centre leaders acknowledge these as areas for further work and improvement.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and happy in the centre. They are supported well to separate from their parents/whānau on arrival and have positive relationships with teachers. Children know to make choices from prepared resources and activities, and they move freely between the indoor and outdoor environments. Excursions and links with the community are a regular part of the programme, and children enjoy visits to a local retirement village.

Some new strategies are supporting older children with their transition to school. Teachers would enhance children's understanding of early literacy and numeracy concepts if this was more effectively included in the context of play. Children benefit from the cultural component in the programme, which provides good support for Māori children, and acknowledges the cultures of others.

Teachers support children to engage with resources with friendly encouragement and conversation. They provide a variety of materials and activities recognising the age range of children, but should consider ways to provide more learning challenges that will add complexity to children's play. Daily access to water play for two year olds, carpentry for older children, and some rules for riding bikes could strengthen the quality of outdoor play. A further emphasis on teachers developing a collaborative approach to positive behaviour management would be useful.

Teachers are reviewing their processes for planning, assessment and evaluation. They are developing their focus on individual children, and beginning to use a project approach to explore children's interests. While teachers plan related activities and resources, they could benefit from more effectively planning for their roles in children's learning. This could further enhance the continuity of assessment in portfolios and contribute to meaningful programme evaluations.

The owners and teachers encourage parents' involvement in the centre. They provide a welcoming environment and invite families to share aspirations, children's whakapapa, and stories from their home experiences. Leaders keep families informed through social media sites, emails and daily personal contact. They have also established a digital portal for parents and whānau to access and comment on children's learning stories. Leaders are keen for more parents to make better use of this communication tool.

The owners provide sound leadership for the centre. They have responded to teachers' interests regarding their roles and responsibilities, and sourced external advice to enhance their knowledge of good practice in early childhood education. The owners support staff professional development, and they are revising the appraisal process to meet Education Council requirements. It is timely for leaders to now consider a whole-centre professional development contract for staff.

Self-review processes are in the early stages of development, and a review cycle for policies and procedures is in place. The owners recognise the value of using reviews and internal evaluation to strengthen team collaboration, reflective practice, and improved outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for centre development should include:

  • developing a strategic plan that includes bicultural goals with an implementation process to show how goals will be met

  • involving staff in a review of the centre philosophy, vision, and goals as part of building a professional team culture

  • using the planning review to establish learning experiences that will engage and challenge children

  • deepening the quality of internal evaluation to determine how well programmes and initiatives are improving outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ToTally Kids 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. In order to improve practices leaders should formally document their appraisal policy and procedures.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of ToTally Kids will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

17 January 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


New Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

28 children over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15 Girls 12

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

17 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2014

Education Review

February 2011

Education Review

February 2008

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.