Tots on Triton Early Childhood Centre - 21/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Tots on Triton Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Tots on Triton Early Childhood Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Tots on Triton Early Childhood Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Tots on Triton is located in the business district of Albany on the North Shore in Auckland. It is licensed to provide education and care for up to 100 children, including up to 30 children under two years of age. The centre caters for local families, as well as those families who work in the area.

Children play and learn in four rooms for infants, toddlers or pre-schoolers. The centre serves a culturally diverse community with the bigger groups being European/Pākehā and Chinese. Teachers reflect the diverse backgrounds of children and families.

A recently reviewed and developed philosophy reflects teachers' vision for positive outcomes for children. At the heart of the philosophy is the importance of relationships with tamariki, whānau, teachers and the local community. It also promotes a caring and emotionally secure environment for children, where their self-esteem and self-worth are fostered. The principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are included in the philosophy, and guide teaching practices.

Since the 2014 ERO report the centre has had new leaders and teaching staff. The teaching team consists of 16 full-time staff and two part-time relievers. The centre manager is supported by the area manager. Seven teachers are fully qualified, and one is working towards full certification.

The 2014 ERO report noted positive teaching aspects that contributed to children's learning. Although the centre has new leaders and teachers, many of these good practices are still evident.

The Review Findings

Children are viewed as capable learners who may lead their own learning. They enthusiastically engage in activities and find interests to explore. Children confidently converse with teachers and their peers. They work independently or in groups, and benefit from a rich variety of accessible resources. Inclusive practices support children to respect and value others. Children with additional learning needs are well supported and included in the programme.

Infants and toddlers enjoy an environment that is unhurried and promotes positive interactions. Teachers in the infant room practise primary caregiving, and prioritise meaningful relationships with children and their whānau. Teachers' responsive caregiving supports infants’ need for strong and secure attachments. They respond to children's cues, preferences and interests with respectful and caring interactions.

Older children benefit from a calm, caring environment that fosters their sense of belonging and purposeful engagement in play. Teachers model and promote respectful relationships. Effective teaching practices include:

  • knowing children well and responding to their learning needs and preferences

  • frequently interacting with children and modelling reciprocal conversation skills

  • using mat time activities, singing and story reading to support children's language acquisition

  • collaborating with other teachers to support seamless transitions through the day, and children's transitions between rooms.

The programme is child led, play is valued and the environment is viewed as the 'third teacher'. Teachers thoughtfully plan environments that provoke children's interests and support their engagement in learning.

Children learn about aspects of tikanga Māori and use Māori cultural resources. They have opportunities to sing waiata. Centre leaders plan to work with local whānau, iwi and marae to strengthen the centre's bicultural practices.

Parents are supported to be partners in their children's learning. Teachers respond to parents' aspirations, and value the skills and knowledge that families share. Families are well informed about children's learning through informal discussions, electronic communication, and attractive wall displays.

The centre is well led and managed. The centre manager focuses on building leadership capacity, and a collaborative team culture to achieve positive outcomes for children's learning and wellbeing. Leadership is team-focused, organised and systematic. A strong team culture fosters staff relationships and wellbeing. Teachers' strengths and interests are valued, and team leaders have leadership roles for planning and assessment in their respective areas.

Centre owners and leaders value high quality, centre-wide professional learning to support teachers to build their capability. Relevant appraisal processes support teachers to identify meaningful goals, and to be innovative and reflective in their teaching practice.

A clear framework for internal evaluation supports teachers to review a range of practices. 'Teaching as inquiry' is supporting teachers to critically reflect on areas of interest in their teaching practice or in the curriculum. These processes are helping to build sustainable leadership of the centre's developments and effective practices.

The centre has a strong vision and philosophy which underpins centre operations and practices. Strategic and annual plans provide clear direction for the centre's development. A sound policy framework guides leaders and teachers.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that key next steps include:

  • strengthening bicultural practices

  • planning teaching strategies and learning outcomes to extend children's learning and individual interests

  • building teacher capability to extend children's thinking, and to engage them in more complex play.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tots on Triton Early Childhood Centre 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

21 March 2019

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


North Shore, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

100 children, including up to 30 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 34 Girls 31

Ethnic composition

other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

21 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

October 2011

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 will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.