Vintage Kids - 24/06/2015

1 Evaluation of St Francis Kindergarten & Childcare Centre Ltd

How well placed is St Francis Kindergarten & Childcare Centre Ltd 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.


St Francis Kindergarten & Childcare Centre is a well established service in Epsom, Auckland. Following the retirement of the former owner, the centre has a new owner and a new head teacher. The centre is licensed for 26 children, including up to five children aged under two years. It provides full day programmes in a home-like environment. Children can attend sessions that finish mid-afternoon, or for the centre’s extended day option.

The indoor learning areas and the recently rebuilt outdoor learning environment are shared by infants, toddlers and older children. Children interact and play for periods of time in mixed age groups.

The centre’s philosophy focuses on using the environment for children to develop their creativity through storytelling and to become creative, confident, curious, communicative and caring learners. The philosophy links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and to the teaching team’s commitment to the all round development of children. A team of four qualified teachers is led by the centre manager. There are good ratios of staff to children.

The centre’s 2012 ERO report commented on its settled and calm learning environment and on the respectful relationships between teachers and children. These good practices have been sustained, and the owner and teaching team are continuing to address areas for further development outlined in this report by strengthening self review processes and extending children’s learning and interests. Recent professional development focusing on self review, and the recent appointment of an experienced head teacher, are likely to help teachers to extend children’s learning and interests.

The Review Findings

Relationships between children, parents and staff are warm and respectful. On arrival, children settle quickly into indoor play or join teacher initiated art activities, and many sustain their interest in these creative activities. Throughout the day children access resources and activities in accordance with the centre’s timetable and well established routines.

Teachers have established sensitive and responsive relationships with children. Children’s trust in teachers is evident in their conversations with teachers, and in the way that children and teachers work together.

Many staff have been with the centre for a number of years and have a deep understanding of the centre’s history and the local community. Parents appreciate the centre’s family-like environment, the calm and relaxed approaches of staff. Unhurried parent and staff interactions also help foster children’s sense of wellbeing and belonging.

Children enjoy a range of activities and choices available in the centre’s attractive and well designed outdoor learning area. Although children’s access to the area is governed by the timetable, it is particularly inviting, offering children a variety of play options to capture their interest and to help them learn about the natural world.

Consideration should now be given to:

  • reviewing how well the structure of the timetable supports the philosophy of children learning through play
  • providing additional resources that children can access, use and put away independently to further develop creative play and self-management skills.

Teachers understand and provide well for the immediate needs of infants and toddlers. They are attentive and responsive to infants individual preferences. Children aged under two years join the older children in mat time and storytelling. In these sessions teachers include aspects of music, role play and drama, te reo Māori, literacy and mathematics.

The owner and head teacher are reviewing many of the centre’s existing operations. They are implementing change in a considered and strategic manner. Team approaches are being strengthened, providing new leadership and professional development opportunities for all teachers and support staff.

Work has also begun on strengthening and better documenting planning and assessment procedures. A new web-based programme is being introduced. This will help teachers to record individual learning stories that better show each child’s interests and growth.

Self review is valued by the team and teachers are currently involved in a long term professional development programme to strengthen their practice in this area. Considerable progress has recently been made to improve self review. A number of policies and procedures have been reviewed. Staff and parents have been consulted and feedback has been gathered formally through parent surveys.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified appropriate next steps, which include:

  • continuing to refine and strengthen assessment, programme planning and evaluation, and helping teachers to use learning stories and portfolios for assessment
  • responding to children’s individual learning dispositions and interests in programme planning
  • increasing the extent to which curriculum management and implementation reflect the principles and strands of Te Whāriki.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Francis Kindergarten & Childcare Centre Ltd 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 St Francis Kindergarten & Childcare Centre Ltd will be in three years.

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 June 2015

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


Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

26 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 16

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2012


Education Review

November 2008


Education Review

September 2005

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.