Wakari Hospital Early Childhood Centre - 12/12/2018

1 Evaluation of Wakari Hospital Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Wakari Hospital Early Childhood Centre to contribute to children’s learning and promote their wellbeing?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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


Wakari Hospital Early Childhood Centre (Wakari Hospital ECC) is one of two early learning services under the Dunedin Hospital Board (DHB) umbrella. This centre provides early education and care for infants and children up to school age in a mixed age setting, for hospital staff only.

Both centres are governed by a committee made up of parents who use the services. A centre director manages both sites with the support of head teachers who have responsibility for the day-to-day programme.

The centre philosophy at Wakari Hospital ECC includes the belief that positive, respectful relationships are key to children's learning and that with this, children grow to be curious, capable learners who are confident to engage in rich play and meaningful learning.

The centre opened in 2017 and this is its first ERO review.

The Review Findings

Children at the centre play and learn with confidence. The warm caring relationships between teachers, the children and their families support the children's sense of wellbeing and belonging. Teachers encourage children to be independent and make their own decisions about what they want to do and learn. Teachers are respectful of, and responsive to, children's choices and preferences. The well-established routines and teachers' clear expectations for behaviour provide the security children need to feel safe in this home-like learning environment.

The centre philosophy is effective in supporting the head teacher's expectations for practice. The teachers work together to decide on how they will encourage and promote children’s learning, which supports consistent teaching practice. Teachers develop useful plans to guide their teaching when working to promote the learning needs of individual children. Plans include parents’ perspectives. Teachers are skilled at recognising children’s learning which is documented in children's profile books.

Teachers use the environment and centre resources as the third teacher. The centre is well organised and uncluttered with a wide range of purposeful equipment and resources.

In the mixed-age setting children have the opportunity to learn from one another. The concept of tuakana-teina is strongly evident: older children support and care for the younger ones. Strong friendships are developing between children. Children with particular needs are effectively supported by teachers and external agencies, who collaborate with parents to achieve the goals for their learning.

Teachers are very responsive to children's verbal and non-verbal cues. They promote children's oral language development through respectful, caring, quality interactions. All children are well cared for by a primary caregiver (Kumanu kaiako). Teachers follow the routines set at home so that there is continuity of care between centre and home.

Leaders acknowledge the need to take a planned approach to ensuring bicultural knowledge and practice continue to grow and developments are sustained. Teachers include aspects of Māori culture within the programme. Te reo Māori, karakia and waiata are used to help build children's familiarity with New Zealand's bicultural heritage.

Leaders are very responsive to the needs of children and their families. They have successfully established a well organised education and care service focused on positive outcomes for children. They use a range of communication systems to keep families informed. Regular meetings and useful reports help keep staff and the governing committee well informed about developments which assists decision making.

Leaders have high expectations for children’s learning and for teaching practice, with clear roles and responsibilities in place. Teachers have the opportunity for professional development to build practice and develop their leadership skills. A useful appraisal process is in place which is focused on upskilling teachers to improve outcomes for children. Teachers are accountable and expected to take responsibility for their professional growth.

The service has made a good start with internal evaluation practices. Spontaneous reviews are helping establish a solid base for centre practices. There is potential now to move from development mode to evaluation of the quality of centre practice. A comprehensive schedule for planned reviews would be helpful in ensuring the key priorities for children's learning are regularly reviewed. Regular evaluation of practices that impact most on children will help leaders and teachers better understand what is working well or what needs to be improved.

It may be useful and timely for the service to review its philosophy. In particular, to identify more specifically how key priorities for children’s learning will be supported through teaching and the environment. This will make it easier to evaluate the impact the service is having on promoting and extending children's learning. Strategic development, programme planning and internal evaluation can then be aligned with the identified key priorities.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the centre leaders and teachers agree that the centre’s next steps include:

  • identifying the centres key learning priorities and including these within the philosophy
  • continuing to develop assessment and planning for children and evaluation of teaching strategies on learning outcomes
  • developing and implementing a plan to build bicultural practice and the integration of Māori perspectives within programmes and practices
  • widening the scope of internal evaluation and including the evaluation of strategic goals and the centre’s learning priorities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wakari Hospital 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wakari Hospital Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

12 December 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

47 children, including up to 14 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 39

Girls: 33

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

12 December 2018

Most recent ERO reports

No Previous ERO reports

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.