Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings - 01/08/2017

1 Evaluation of Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings

How well placed is Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings 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.


Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings is a privately owned and operated early learning service. It is situated in central Palmerston North and is one of three Tui Early Learning Centres in the management group. The centre provides all day care and education for up to 80 children, including 20 up to two years old. It is divided into two areas, one for children aged under three, the other for those over three years. Of the 98 children enrolled, 18 identify as Māori and four as Samoan.

The original owner has recently transferred ownership and management of the centre to other family members. This centre is one of two owned by the same directors. Most staff are fully qualified. Two head teachers have responsibility for a team of teachers. Two education leaders have oversight of teaching practice.

The Tui Early Learning philosophy is child focused and emphasises the importance of reciprocal relationships with whānau, commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and a curriculum based on an inquiry approach to learning.

The April 2014 ERO review identified the need for improvement in relation to self review, assessment and bicultural practice. Significant progress is evident.

This review is one of two ERO reviews at Tui Early Learners Centres.

The Review Findings

Children are encouraged to become competent learners who make their own decisions about their involvement in the programme. Leaders and teachers respond to their emerging interests through providing a wide range of educational experiences. Numeracy, literacy, science and music are meaningfully included in the learning programme. A feature of the centre is the Nature Explorers Programme. Regular farm visits for the older children encourage them to build valuable skills, knowledge and confidence in a rural context.

The physical environment is set up to maximise children’s engagement in learning. Areas of play are well resourced to extend their thinking and exploration.

Teachers are highly responsive to the non-verbal cues of very young children. Respectful practice is evident in all interactions. Infants and toddlers benefit from the calm, nurturing environment. Positive child and teacher relationships foster a strong sense of security for children. Relationships with parents are prioritised and valued.

Children with additional needs are well supported to participate in the programme. Each individual’s strengths, needs and interests are identified and addressed. External agencies are accessed when required for additional support.

As a result of internal review, a newly developed planning cycle has been introduced. This effectively supports teachers to:

  • look in-depth at individual children's learning

  • plan intentional teaching strategies tailored to specific needs

  • develop learning partnerships with parents and whānau

  • monitor children's progress over time

  • facilitate shared understanding and consistent practice in assessment, planning and evaluation.

Continuing to embed and evaluate this initiative over time should ensure positive outcomes are sustained for children.

Transitions into and through the centre are well considered and support children to settle quickly. Children moving to school are supported by a range of useful practices. Leaders and teachers have identified that continuing to develop partnerships with more schools is a next step.

External support is guiding the bicultural curriculum and building teacher capability and knowledge. Teachers use te reo and tikanga Māori in daily interactions with children. They weave te ao Māori concepts throughout the curriculum. Management and leaders have identified that continuing to develop strategies, in partnership with iwi and whānau Māori, that promote educational success for Māori learners, is a next step.

The appraisal process is highly effective in guiding staff to inquire into the impact of their practice on learning outcomes for children.

Internal evaluation is very well understood and embedded in practice. It is systematic, deliberate and planned with a strong focus on teaching and learning, and outcomes for children. Links to the centre philosophy, vision and strategic direction are evident.

A well-defined management and leadership structure effectively promotes the centre's strategic direction. Leaders have clear expectations about their roles and responsibilities. Governance, leaders and teachers work collectively to bring about improvements for children.

There is a well informed and strong commitment to the delivery of high quality, effective early learning practice. Emerging leaders are well supported by the Aspiring Leadership Pathway Programme developed by the education leaders. 

The education leaders regularly contribute and participate in wider early learning networks, sharing their knowledge and supporting the development of others. This enables a broader perspective to influence development of practices within the Tui centres. Their regular audits of teaching support consistent and improved practice.

Key Next Steps

Management, centre leaders and ERO agree that the next step for the centre is to continue to strengthen partnerships with whānau, particularly Māori, to further promote children's culture, language and identity throughout documents and in practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings 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 Tui Early Learners Nestlings/Fledglings will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

1 August 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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 51, Boys 47

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

June 2017

Date of this report

1 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

February 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 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.