Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool - 11/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool

How well placed is Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool 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.


Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool is a privately owned education and care service located in Cambridge. It is licensed for 90 children including 20 up to the age of two. The current roll of 104 includes 22 children who identify as Māori. The centre provides a full day service and is open from 7.30am to 6.00pm on weekdays. There are four age group spaces - ranging from babies to pre-school.

The centre philosophy encourages children to explore and challenge themselves through respectful reciprocal relationships and the provision of a safe environment.

The centre owner also manages the centre. A newly developed operations manager supports her in this role. The four age group spaces are led by head teachers who are also part of the senior leadership team. Over 80% of teachers are qualified early childhood educators.

The centre has recently opened a large new space for older children and significantly upgraded the outdoor environments for all of the age group spaces.

Most aspects of the previous report remain areas for further development particularly in responding to the language, culture and identity of Māori children, strategic planning and curriculum, planning and assessment.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy many opportunities to learn through play in spacious and well-designed environments. Particular curriculum priorities valued by the centre are evident in and consistent across all the rooms. These include children learning about values and virtues, children making choices about their own learning and teaching practices which emphasise respectful care. Children have access to a rich range of natural resources, open-ended equipment and materials which promote choice, self-management and challenge. There are opportunities for children to problem-solve and extend their thinking. Mathematics and literacy learning are naturally integrated into children's play. Children's oral language development is well-supported. Children are learning in a safe and secure environment where high levels of engagement and enthusiasm are evident.

There is support for Māori children and their whānau through positive relationships. Aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori are included in meaningful ways. Children up to two years of age benefit from responsive and secure relationships with consistent teachers. These children are confident explorers in a calm, unhurried environment. Teachers work effectively with specialist agencies to provide targeted teaching and support for children with additional needs. They are well supported within an inclusive centre culture.

Teachers make consistent use of practices that promote positive outcomes for children. Primary caregiving, where one teacher becomes the main provider of nurture and care, is an important strategy used by teachers to promote a strong sense of belonging and well-being in children and whānau. Many aspects of respectful care are evident in teacher practice. Positive guidance strategies encourage children to interact positively with their peers. Teachers effectively and positively integrate learning into everyday care routines. The transitions children make from one room to another and one primary caregiver to another are managed at the children's own pace. Children benefit from positive, sensitive and responsive relationships with teachers.

There is a well-considered approach to appointing experienced leaders and fostering emergent leadership across the service. There is a strong focus on continual improvement. They have set expectations that teachers will inquire into their practice as part of the new appraisal process. Leaders build staff capability through collegial, professional relationships and by modelling best practice.

There are strong and effective systems and processes that underpin centre operations. A clear philosophy guides centre practice. It is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects current teacher practice. There is ongoing internal evaluation into many aspects of centre operations which leads to centre development and improvement. This good governance is sustaining a valued community service.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree there is now a need to focus on review and development in the following areas.

Key aspects of centre operations need to be improved. These include:

  • continue to rationalise and streamline strategic planning systems and processes

  • document and fully implement the newly developed appraisal process

  • further develop the curriculum to be more responsive to the language and identity of Māori and other children

  • teachers considering taking a more individual approach to planning and assessment.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool 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 Tree Town Early Childhood Centre and Preschool will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

11 June 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

90 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Other European


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

March 2018

Date of this report

11 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

October 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.